News and Press Releases

Federal aviation administration safety inspector Pleads Guilty to Accepting bribes over a seven-Year period

October 27, 2011


CAMDEN, N.J. – An aviation safety inspector with the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) today admitted to accepting tens of thousands of dollars of “tips” in exchange for hundreds of unauthorized pilot check rides he performed, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Harrington Bishop, 63, of Browns Mills, N.J., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Robert B. Kugler in Camden federal court to an Information charging him with one count of receiving illegal gratuities by a public official.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Bishop was an aviation safety inspector with the FAA assigned to the Teterboro Flight Standards District Office (“FSDO”) in Saddle Brook, N.J. From May 2004 through February 2011, Bishop spent hundreds of weekends, holidays, and other days of approved leave taking pilots out on flight checks at Cave Flight School at the Flying W Airport in Medford, N.J. These tests ranged from private pilot tests to airline transport pilot certificate tests. None of these flight checks was authorized by the Teterboro FSDO or any other authority within the FAA.

Bishop admitted that these hundreds of tests over the seven-year period nearly always resulted in the pilot passing the test. Even though the flights were not authorized by the FAA, the pilots became officially licensed, certified, certificated, or otherwise by the FAA as a result of Bishop’s official acts. In exchange for these hundreds of check flights, Bishop generally collected $300 tips from the pilots, fully aware that he was not allowed to accept payment from pilots or anyone else in exchange for the performance of his official duties.

The bribery charge carries a maximum potential penalty of two years in prison and a maximum $250,000 fine, or twice the gain or loss caused by the offense. Judge Kugler scheduled the sentencing for Feb. 2, 2012.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of the Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Douglas Shoemaker, for the investigation leading to the guilty plea.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott B. McBride of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Healthcare and Government Fraud Unit.


Defense counsel: Jay V. Surgent Esq., Lyndhurst, N.J.

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