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Former Carson Helicopter Executive Indicted for Fraud and Endangering the Safety of Aircraft in Flight

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 4, 2013

MEDFORD, Ore. - Steven Metheny, 42, of Central Point, Oregon, and Levi Phillips, 45, of Grants Pass, Oregon, were indicted last week by a federal grand jury sitting in Medford, Oregon. Metheny was a former Vice President of Carson Helicopters Inc. in Grants Pass, Oregon. Both Metheny and Phillips were charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States Forest Service involving contracts awarded to Carson Helicopters, Inc., in 2008 for helicopter services in firefighting operations. Metheny was also charged in 22 other counts with mail and wire fraud, making false statements to the Forest Service, endangering the safety of aircraft in flight, and theft from an interstate shipment.

An indictment is only an accusation of a crime, and a defendant should be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, Metheny and Phillips face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for the conspiracy to defraud count, and Metheny also faces a maximum sentence of 20 years for each mail and wire fraud count, 20 years for each endangering the safety of aircraft in flight count, 10 years for the interstate theft count, and up to five years for each false statement count.

For additional information, the attached indictment can be found at this link.

The U.S. Attorney's Office is working with the Offices of Inspector General for both the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Transportation in Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington, and the FBI and the IRS in Medford, Oregon in the investigation and prosecution of this case. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Byron Chatfield.

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