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Corrupt FAA Inspector Sentenced to Six Years Behind Bars

Corrupt FAA Inspector Sentenced to Six Years Behind Bars
Jeff Edwards

An FAA inspector convicted of accepting bribes from a government contractor has been sentenced to more than six years in prison following convictions on charges including bribery, fraud, and conspiracy. The disgraced federal official admitted pocketing more than $150,000 in illegal payments but told the judge his noble intention was “promoting aviation,” not self-enrichment.

Shamed former-FAA Aviation Safety Inspector Manuel Fernandez was accused of accepting payments of over $150,000 to supply AVCOM Avionic and Instruments with illegally obtained maintenance manuals and tipping company officials off to surprise FAA inspections. Fernandez held several positions at AVCOM–including Vice President of Operations–but did not disclose any of them to his employers at the FAA South Florida Flight Standards District Office (FSDO).

The then-owners of AVCOM plead guilty to conspiracy and bribery charges in June. Fernandez was also convicted for conspiracy to accept bribes from AVCOM. However, prior to his sentencing, he wanted the judge to know that his actions were well-intended. “I was promoting aviation,” Fernandez explained at his sentencing hearing earlier this month on December 5th. Said his attorney, “This man furthered aviation safety, and he did it with a passion.”

However, a jury found that the disgraced inspector went to great lengths to hide his ill-gotten gains, including arranging a ghost employment position at AVCOM for his mother so that she could help him disguise the illegal payments. At his sentencing, U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke disagreed and called the former FAA inspector’s actions ”thievery” before sentencing him to 75 months in prison and fines and restitution of not less than $10,000.

“He was serving as a fox in a hen house,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Davis said, pushing for the steeper penalty. “He was betraying the public trust and public safety. … He sold [the manuals] after he stole them. He was lining his pockets. He was not advancing aviation safety. He was impeding it.”

 

 

View Comments (3)

3 Comments

  1. rocketfodder

    December 12, 2019 at 6:18 am

    This is bullshit. Wifi is free on all domestic JAL flights. Things are shit in the US because of greed and incompetence.

  2. FlyingNone

    December 19, 2019 at 6:47 pm

    I really wonder how people like this can sleep at night.

  3. ozgal

    December 21, 2019 at 4:30 pm

    Sorry Rocketfodder, did I miss something in this article which references WiFi?

    He stole Maintenance Manuels to supply AVCOM.
    Where is the Wifi component of your response represented in this story and what does JAL have to do with this article?

    Wow anti US, slightly?

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