Anderson Aircraft Mechanic Charged With Aircraft Part Fraud
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a two-count indictment today against Randy L. Thompson, 65, of Anderson, charging him with fraud involving aircraft parts, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
According to court documents and documents obtained by the U.S. Department of Transportation, in 2010, Thompson, an aircraft mechanic who operated under the business name “Thompson’s Air,” was hired to overhaul an aircraft engine for a customer in Pennsylvania. As part of the overhaul, Thompson installed an engine crankshaft on the customer’s private airplane. Prior to the installation, Thompson had twice sent the same crankshaft to FAA‑certified repair stations, and in both instances the repair stations had returned the part to Thompson with a tag documenting that the crankshaft was cracked and no longer suitable for use on an aircraft. Nevertheless, Thompson installed the crankshaft and falsely certified that he had performed the engine overhaul in compliance with the FAA regulations and the engine manufacturer’s specifications. After approximately 90 hours of operation, the crankshaft failed in flight, and the aircraft was forced to make an emergency landing in a field. No one was injured.
This case was the product of an investigation by the Department of Transportation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Matthew G. Morris is prosecuting the case.
If convicted, Thompson faces a maximum statutory penalty of 15 years in prison and a $500,000 fine. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.