According to a report by the Dept. of Transportation Office of Inspector General, a Florida aircraft parts supplier was convicted of making materially fraudulent representations concerning the condition of aircraft parts he sold to the Department of Defense. At trial, the government presented evidence showing that between 2005 and 2006, the aircraft parts supplier purchased used aircraft parts and resold them to the Department of Defense as “new” or “new surplus.” The aircraft parts sold by the defendant were flight-critical and their failure could have resulted in catastrophic loss of life and serious damage to aircraft. The defendant also sold fraudulently certified aircraft parts to non-military users. Apparently neither the defendant nor his busines were certified to perform inspections, repairs, or overhauls or otherwise certify the airworthiness of aircraft parts.
This case really makes you wonder what this defendant was, or more likely wasn’t, thinking. Although the OIG report doesn’t provide all of the facts, my guess would be that the defendant was simply paying less for the used parts (because they were used) and then simply re-selling them with an added mark-up to correspond to his representation that the parts were “new”. Maybe he also cleaned the parts before he sold them (to make them look more like “new”).
The defendant’s conduct is particularly troubling when you consider that the parts he was selling were flight critical and likely time-limited parts. So the buyer’s are purchasing parts they think are “new” when, in fact, the parts are worn or, in the case of time-limited parts, may very well have had little useful life left. Truly a recipe for disaster. Fortunately, the defendant was caught before one of these parts failed and caused an accident or killed someone.