DOJ Tells Boeing It Will Be Charged With Fraud, Crash Victims Respond

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According to a Bloomberg report today (June 30), “people familiar with the matter” have revealed that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has told Boeing it will be charged with fraud. That would leave the storied but shamed manufacturer with the unpleasant legal choice of pleading guilty or risking a jury trial. According to the Bloomberg sources, Boeing will have to pay a fine and be subject to a corporate monitor.

Meanwhile, a law firm representing families of passengers killed in two Boeing 737 MAX accidents provided AVweb with a statement characterizing its clients as having reacted “vehemently” to a two-hour meeting today with the DOJ and what they described as a “sweetheart deal” for Boeing.

The Sunday meeting came on the heels of a scathing sanction from the National Transportation Safety Board asserting that Boeing had “blatantly” violated terms of its participation agreement in the investigation into the in-flight separation of a door-plug in an Alaska Airlines 737 MAX earlier this year. Also, the DOJ ruled in May that Boeing had violated its deferred prosecution agreement from 2021, an agreement that would have enabled Boeing to avoid criminal prosecution if it would meet certain conditions. As part of the agreement, Boeing paid a $243 million fine and “admitted to deceiving the FAA about an important feature of the 737 MAX that impacted the flight control system,” according to the Bloomberg report.

Robert Clifford is Founder and Senior Partner of the Clifford Law Offices and lead counsel in litigation pending with the federal district court in Chicago. The firm represents family members of passengers who were killed in the crashes of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. Regarding the DOJ actions involving Boeing, Clifford said in a statement, “…the families will most certainly object before Judge Reed O’Connor and ask that he reject the plea if Boeing accepts.”

Boeing stock is down by some 33% this year and the company has warned that it is on track to record some $8 billion in cash expended in through the first half of 2024, largely attributed to a production slowdown initiated by the MAX crashes. The FAA has directed Boeing to cap production of the MAX line and mandated the company to submit comprehensive plans for addressing quality control issues.

The Bloomberg report also cited a “leadership shakeup” at Boeing, as current CEO David Calhoun prepares to step down later this year.

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Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

8 COMMENTS

    • I think Boeing’s problems started when they moved some of their manufacturing out of Seattle and to the cheap workers in South Carolina.

  1. You say you haven’t been the same since you had your little crash
    But you might feel better if they gave you some cash
    The more I think about it, Old Billy was right
    Let’s kill all the lawyers, kill ’em tonight

  2. This could not have happened soon enough. Further, if someone in charge at Boeing does not end up in prison for life owing to their willful harassment of Whistle Blowers’ centering on the companies fraudulent quality control practices, then concerned individuals should take matters in their own hands and boycott carriers flying these vehicles and/or obtain permits to peacefully protest at boarding gates throughout major airports across the United States.

  3. There has been a lot written on the cause of Boeing going off course. A good clue is from the book by Joe Sutter “747: Creating the World’s First Jumbo Jet and Other Adventures from a Life in Aviation”. Even back then he had to fight the bean counters to get the plane made the way he wanted. An example, he talks about the fight to get triple slotted flaps. He won that fight, but you wonder how many engineers lost these battles for the sake of short term profits.

  4. Fear not, Boeing’s got this. Their recent DEI hire (actually a promotion) of Stephanie Pope to COO will absolutely fix everything that’s wrong with this behemoth, despite lacking an engineering degree and pilot’s license.

  5. Ultimately people do not remember a bad situation as much as they remember how one handles. Leadership at Boeing has the chance to do the right thing and create a proud legacy out of a bad situation. They seem to be squandering it.

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