Ex-Mechanic Faces Jail For Fraud

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Former aircraft mechanic Joel Stout Thursday pled guilty to charges that involve a retired FAA examiner and falsified documents in a case affecting inspections that took place over a span of several years, last decade. Stout worked as an aircraft mechanic at the Flying Tigers aircraft maintenance facility at Donegal Springs Airpark in Marietta, Pa., between October 2006 and October 2009. He was certified in 2005, but his certification expired in 2006. According to federal prosecutors, Flying Tigers continued to perform annual inspections from October 2006 to October 2009 without the presence of an IA, forged the signature of a certified mechanic, and arranged for retired FAA examiner Howard Gunter to sign off on inspections in which he was not otherwise involved. Stout may now face decades in prison. Gunter and Stout's father are also facing charges.

Stout, who is now 32 years old, could face up to 20 years in jail for each count of mail fraud and five for conspiracy. He is also facing a possible fine of up to $1.75 million. Gunter and Stout's father, the president of Flying Tigers, have also been charged but have not yet entered pleas. Prosecutors say that the younger Stout was interviewed in 2008 and 2009 and admitted to his participation in the criminal activities. According to prosecutors, those activities include hiding the fact that inspections had been performed by uncertified mechanics, logging signatures by individuals who did not perform or oversee the work, removing pages from logbooks or removing the logbooks themselves to hide forged signatures, and invoicing airplane owners for inspections that had not been properly performed. The younger Stout will face sentencing in late June.