A federal jury in Allentown this week found the proprietor of an airplane
mechanical repair business guilty of conspiracy and other charges for illegally charging customers for annual aircraft inspections despite the fact that the defendant lacked the necessary licensure.
Jay Stout, 55, formerly of Elizabethtown, Pa., and his company, Flying Tigers Inc., were convicted of conspiracy, fraud involving aircraft parts, mail fraud and obstruction of justice, according to federal prosecutors at the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Stout, who served as president of Marietta, Pa.-based Flying Tigers, had been indicted alongside his son, Joel Stout, 33, also of Elizabethtown, who had previously pleaded guilty in the case and faces sentencing on May 6.
The government alleged that between October 2003 and January 2010, Stout conspired with his son and others to commit fraud in aircraft parts, mail fraud and wire fraud by charging customers for the annual inspections of their aircraft, despite the absence of a certified mechanic with inspection authority, a certification that is given by the Federal Aviation Administration.
To conceal the absence of such certification, Stout and his team of conspirators prepared fraudulent certifications of annual inspections for the airplane and engine log books or, at other times, would fail to create the necessary certification at all, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia, which announced the guilty verdict on Wednesday.
Some of the customers who went to Flying Tigers for annual inspections were charged for the work, although the company never provided a signed certification in the plane or engine log books recording the inspection.
“By this method, the absence of the valid signature of a certified mechanic was not evident to the Flying Tiger customers,” reads a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Other inspections were certified in the log books by Jay Stout even though he was no longer authorized to certify such work, prosecutors stated.
In other instances, the signatures of certified mechanics with inspection authority were forged in the log books.
Prosecutors said that the fraudulent signature of Jay Stout’s father, Gilbert Stout, even appeared on annual inspections years after the man stopped working on aircraft.
Jurors at the federal trial were shown many of the airframe and engine log books that contained such entries.
The government alleged that when Jay Stout learned in late 2007 that he was being investigated by federal authorities, he intentionally altered the log books in an effort to further conceal his fraud.
Jay Stout faces a maximum possible prison sentence of 90 years plus possible restitution to his victims and three years of supervised release.
Court records show that Jay Stout was represented by West Chester attorneys Joel Benecke and Julie D. Lathia and Lancaster attorney Jerome C. Finefrock.
The case was presided over by U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle, III.