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DHS Contractor Allegedly Fixed an Airplane with Paper Clips

Pleads Guilty

November 8, 2012
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A former executive at an airplane repair company with government contracts pleaded guilty to recklessly endangering the safety of aircraft, according to the Justice Department. The executive with WECO Aerospace Systems Inc., concealed facts about repairs from customers and did not ensure that repairs were done according to Federal Aviation Administration regulations, said a U.S. Attorney spokesman of the Eastern District of California. WECO clients included DHS and the City of Los Angeles. This conduct recklessly endangered the safety of aircraft that used the parts repaired by WECO, the spokesman said. Airplane repair stations are required to use component maintenance manuals (CMMs), guides developed by aircraft manufacturers and approved by FAA, to direct technicians through sanctioned repair procedures. The executive conspired with others to conceal facts, did not adhere to the proper CMMs specified by the manufacturers, and falsely told customers that the repairs were completed according to federal regulations. He and several others were indicted in September 2011 on charges of fraudulent repairs. In one instance, WECO employees allegedly used paper clips instead of certified parts to fix an aircraft component and then told the customer that the repair was properly completed. Two others pleaded guilty in the case and charges remain against four more codefendants. Though the actual sentencing will be done at a later date, the executive faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and 3 years of supervised release.

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