News and Press Releases

FREIGHT FORWARDER CHARGED WITH FRAUDULENTLY CERTIFYING AIR CARGO AS ELIGIBLE FOR SHIPMENT ON PASSENGER AIRLINES

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 16, 2011

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Maury Walker, Special Agent in Charge for the United States Department of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Office of Inspection-Investigations Division Atlanta Field Office, announced today that defendant, Jose Ignacio Arlegui, 37, of Miami, was charged in a Criminal Information with one count of submitting a false statement in a matter within the jurisdiction of the TSA, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001(a)(2).

According to the Criminal Information filed with the court, the defendant was the founder and operator of Fastpack Corporation (“Fastpack”). Fastpack is an indirect air carrier, or freight forwarder, certified by the TSA to ship cargo via passenger airlines or cargo airlines. In accordance with its TSA-approved Indirect Air Carrier Standard Security Program, only cargo that Fastpack certifies, under penalty of perjury, as coming from a “known shipper” may travel on passenger aircraft; cargo from an “unknown shipper” must travel on a cargo aircraft. The purpose of the TSA’s known shipper certification is to provide an extra layer of security to protect the safety and security of passengers on commercial passenger airplanes.

According to the Criminal Information, the defendant engaged in a scheme to defraud the TSA by knowingly submitting fraudulent known shipper certifications for cargo that the defendant knew did not come from known shippers. Between October 2002 and February 2011, the defendant submitted more than 1,500 fraudulent certifications. These false statements allowed potentially dangerous cargo to fly on passenger aircraft in contravention of TSA rules and endangered the safety of our nation’s air passengers.

If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum term of imprisonment of up to five years, to be followed by up to three years of supervised release.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the TSA. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael N. Berger.

An Information is only an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

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