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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Bay Area Aviators Indicted For Making False Statements

Four Pilots Allegedly Lied About Whether They Were Receiving Benefits From the Department of Veterans Affairs For Medical Conditions

SAN FRANCISCO - A federal grand jury indicted four airline pilots for making false statements to the government in Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) forms, announced United States Attorney Alex G. Tse; U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General, Criminal Investigations Division, Special Agent in Charge James Wahleithner; and Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General Regional Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey Dubsick.  In each case, the pilots are accused of submitting forms to the FAA that deny the existence of medical conditions for which the pilots were receiving disability benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. 

The defendants, Gregory James Chrisman, 57, of Burlingame, Calif.; Nicholas King Beyer, 32, of Discovery Bay, Calif.; Adam Roger Asleson, 39, of Peachtree, Ga; and Walker Trent Grant, 36, of Fortuna, Calif., were charged in four separate indictments.  In each indictment, the defendant is charged with making at least one false statement in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001(a)(2), as follows:  
 

Defendant

Charges

Allegations

Adam Roger Asleson

Making a false statement, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001(a)(2)

(1 count)

Allegedly stated on an FAA Form 8500-8:

 

    (i)   that he did not suffer from any mental disorders including depression or anxiety despite having represented to the VA that he suffered from major depressive disorder.

 

    (ii)   that he received medical disability benefits for knee strain and tinnitus despite having received service-related medical disability benefits from the VA for a major depressive disorder, and not for the conditions indicated on the Form 8500-8.

 

Walker Trent Grant

Making false statements, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001(a)(2)

(2 counts)

Allegedly stated on an FAA Form 8500-8:

 

     (i)   that he did not suffer from and had never been diagnosed with “frequent or severe headaches” despite having represented to the VA that he suffered from tension headaches. 

   

     (ii)   that he did not receive medical disability benefits, despite having received service-related medical disability benefits from the VA, including benefits related to his tension headaches since 2011. 

 

Nicholas King Beyer

Making false statements, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001(a)(2)

(2 counts)

 

18 U.S.C. § 1001(a)(1) – Falsify, Conceal, or Cover Up by Trick, Scheme, or Device a Material Fact

(2 counts)

 

 

Allegedly stated on an FAA Form 8500-8:

  

      (i)   that he did not have and had never had a mental disorder of any sort despite having represented to the VA that he had a major depressive disorder and having received medical disability benefits as a result of that condition. 

 

      (ii)  he was receiving VA medical disability benefits only because of a knee and back injuries (and not for a major depressive disorder).

Gregory James Chrisman

Making false statements,

in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001(a)(2)

(2 counts)

Allegedly stated on an FAA Form 8500-8:

 

       (i)     he did not have and had never had a mental disorder of any sort despite having represented to the VA that he had posttraumatic stress disorder and having received medical disability benefits as a result of that condition.

 

       (ii)   that he was not receiving and has never received medical disability benefits despite having received service-related medical disability benefits from the VA since 2011.

 

Each defendant was arraigned and released on a $10,000 bond, and each was required to surrender his passport.  Asleson will make his next appearance on October 3, 2018, before the Honorable Charles R. Breyer, U.S. District Judge.  Grant will make his next appearance on September 19, 2018, before the Honorable Edward Chen, U.S. District Judge.  Beyer will make his next appearance before Judge Breyer on October 3, 2018.  Chrisman will make his next appearance on September 25, 2018, before the Honorable Vince Chhabria, United States District Judge.

An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, the defendants face a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution for each violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001(a)(2) and each violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001(a)(1).  However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.  

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sailaja M. Paidipaty and Nicholas J. Walsh are prosecuting the four cases with the assistance of Marina Ponomarchuk. The prosecutions are the result of an investigation by the Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General and the Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General.

Updated August 29, 2018