A federal judge has ordered the owner of a Lancaster County-based aircraft repair business
to serve 60 months in federal prison based on convictions of fraud, wire fraud and obstruction of justice.
Jay Stout, of Elizabethtown, must also serve three years of probation and pay more than $500,000 in fines and restitution. Additionally, the business that he owned, Flying Tigers, Inc., based out of Donegal Springs Airpark in Marietta, Pa., has been ordered to 12 months of probation and to cease total operations.
In preparation for the August sentencing hearing before U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle, III, U.S. Attorney Arlene Fisk submitted a 19-page memorandum arguing for a 144-month sentence in federal prison for Stout.
Fisk argued that the 12-year sentence meets the criteria of demonstrating the seriousness of the crime. Stout’s fraudulent actions of providing false certifications for airplane inspections put lives in danger and violated the public’s trust, Fisk said. The sentence also serves as punishment for Stout’s continued criminal behavior during the investigation, including altering log books before handing them over to federal agents and lying under oath during testimony.
A memorandum submitted by Stout's attorneys in response to Fisk's argument said there was no evidence presented at trial that any aircraft owners were put at risk of bodily harm or death. His attorneys say that the paperwork may have been falsified, but Stout performed the necessary repairs and work to the airplanes and test flew them himself before returning them to the owners.
"Jay Stout acknowledges that he failed to hold the proper certifications pursuant to FAA regulations," the defense writes. "However, revocation of certification does not equal nullification of the decades of training, experience and expertise possessed by the defendant."
The government said that between October 2003 and January 2010, Stout conspired with his son, Joel, 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.
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.
Other inspections were certified in the log books by Jay Stout even though he was no longer authorized to certify such work, prosecutors stated.
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.
Court records show that Jay Stout was represented by West Chester attorneys Joel Benecke and Julie D. Lathia and Lancaster attorney Jerome C. Finefrock.