According to a recent Summary on the Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General website, a Texas man was sentenced to serve five months imprisonment, five months home confinement and three years of supervised release for making a false statement to the FAA to obtain an airworthiness certificate for an aircraft. As part of his sentence, the man was also ordered to pay a $10,000 fine, a $100 special assessment and he had to surrender to the government three UH-1H helicopters he obtained through the General Services Administration federal surplus property program.
Apparently the man obtained surplus aircraft through the surplus property program, including a twin-engine aircraft that was previously owned and operated by the U. S. Forest Service. When he received the twin-engine aircraft, it did not have an airworthiness certificate because the U.S Forest Service had surrendered the certificate to the FAA. However, the Summary indicates that the man “then applied for a new airworthiness certificate for the aircraft by submitting an application to the FAA in which he represented that the original airworthiness certificate had been lost, when he knew the certificate had been surrendered.”
Another instance of “what were you thinking?”. If the guy knew the certificate was surrendered to the FAA, he should have known that the FAA would have a record of that action and which would be reviewed by the FAA when it received the application for a replacement certificate. Of course, the OIG summaries never tell the whole story. Perhaps the case involved a misunderstanding by the man, or some other circumstances which led him to believe that applying for a duplicate airworthiness certificate would be okay.
In any event, this is yet another example of why it is extremely important that the information provided to the FAA on federal forms be accurate and complete.