Ex-mechanic pleads guilty in airplane inspection fraud case - abc27 WHTM

Ex-mechanic pleads guilty in airplane inspection fraud case

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An Elizabethtown man has admitted in federal court that he took part in an inspection fraud scheme at a former airplane mechanical repair business in Marietta.

Joel Stout, 32, pleaded guilty Tuesday to seven counts of conspiracy and mail fraud charges.

Stout was an airplane mechanic at Flying Tigers, Inc. and performed annual inspections on aircraft between October 2006 and October 2009, even though his inspection authority certification had expired on March 31, 2006, according to federal prosecutors.

His father, Jay Stout, the president of Flying Tigers, and Howard Gunter, a retired FAA examiner, are also charged in the scheme.

Prosecutors said Stout and his conspirators forged the signature of a certified mechanic as having performed inspections, and arranged for Gunter to sign off annual inspections despite the fact that he did not perform the inspections.

The fraud also included billing customers for the inspections that were not properly certified, prosecutors said.

Joel Stout faces a possible statutory sentence of 20 years in prison for each mail fraud count and five years in prison for the conspiracy, plus a fine of up to $1.75 million, when he is sentenced June 24.

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