Parts Fraud Case Revealed

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Jerry Comeaux, 69, the proprietor of Quality Aircraft Support in Ninety Six, S.C., pleaded no contest to fraudulently repairing aircraft parts without FAA credentials and is being forced to pay $403,000 to customers who paid more than $2.5 million for them. Before Comeaux copped the plea, prosecutors told a U.S. District Court in Greenville that some of the parts weren't airworthy. Other charges against Comeaux and his wife Vicky, which included money laundering, wire fraud and mail fraud, were dropped in exchange for the no-contest plea. Customers included firms that repaired commercial and military aircraft and centered on Comeaux's lack of credentials to certify the airworthiness of the repaired parts.

Comeaux surrendered his air agency certificate number in 1996 but was repairing parts until authorities came in with a search warrant in late 2008. They found that he drew up his own forms that were similar to the FAA forms used to accompany parts to verify their airworthiness. His own forms omitted reference to the FAA but were "substantially similar" to the correct forms. That means everything that went out of the shop was an unapproved part in the eyes of the FAA.