News and Press Releases

Orlando Man Indicted For Shining Laser At Police Helicopter

October 26, 2012

Orlando, Florida - United States Attorney Robert E. O'Neill announces the return of an indictment charging Dimitry Maksimchuk (23, Orlando) with aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft. If convicted, Maksimchuk faces a maximum penalty of up to five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.

According to the indictment, on July 17, 2012, Maksimchuk allegedly shined a laser, during nighttime hours, into the cockpit of a Seminole County Sheriff's Office patrol helicopter. No one was injured during the alleged incidents.

On Feb. 14, President Barack Obama signed the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, which modernizes the nation's aviation system. This Act establishes a new criminal offense for aiming the beam of a laser pointer at an aircraft in the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States, or at the flight path of such an aircraft. The statute was enacted in response to a growing number of incidents of pilots being distracted or even temporarily blinded by laser beams.

An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of the federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Daniel W. Eckhart.

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