According to a DOT Office of Inspector General report, an Alabama court recently sentenced an aircraft mechanic to 5 years probation and prohibited the mechanic from working in the aviation industry during that period of time. The sentence corresponded to the aircraft mechanic’s plea of guilty to charges of providing false information regarding his licensing and certifications. The aircraft mechanic was originally indicted on three counts of possessing and using false aircraft maintenance certificates.
The OIG determined that the aircraft mechanic obtained employment as a contract sheet metal mechanic at a repair station by providing a false Designated Mechanic Examiner’s certification. He also claimed that he had a valid Airframe and Power-Plant certificate with an Inspection Authorization license, even though these certificates/ratings had previously been revoked by the FAA. Unfortunately for the employer, it was required to re-inspect the repairs made by the aircraft mechanic to ensure that they were performed properly and did not pose a safety risk.
Hard to imagine what the aircraft mechanic’s excuse or defense would have been to these charges. And now the aircraft mechanic is stuck trying to find employment another industry (not that he wasn’t already effectively in that position with the certificate revocations). This case is also another example of why it is prudent for an employer to confirm an employee’s certifications and qualifications prior to hire, rather than simply taking the employee on his or her word. In this situation, not only did the employer end up with bad press, it also incurred what was likely substantial expense in cooperating in the investigation and performing the re-inspections.