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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, June 26, 2020

Acting U.S. Attorney Announces Extradition Of Belgian Man Charged In $8 Million Aircraft Part Fraud Scheme

Audrey Strauss, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that STEFAN GILLIER, a/k/a “Stephan Gillier,” a/k/a “Stefan R.R. Gillier,” a/k/a “Roland Gillier,” a/k/a “Roland Van Gorp,” a Belgian citizen, was extradited today from Italy to the United States.  GILLIER was arrested on May 26, 2019, for engaging in a scheme in which he and a co-conspirator fraudulently obtained millions of dollars’ worth of aircraft parts through two aircraft part dealerships that they operated, RTF International, Inc. (“RTF”), and UN Air Service, Inc. (“UAS”).  GILLIER is expected be presented this afternoon in Manhattan federal court before Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge Gabriel W. Gorenstein.  GILLIER’s case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman.

Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said:  “As alleged, from 2004 until 2010, Stefan Gillier conspired to defraud manufacturers and distributors of aircraft parts out of millions of dollars’ worth of aircraft parts.  Gillier and his co-conspirator allegedly effectuated the scheme through fraudulent companies, phony references, stop orders on checks after they had received valuable parts, lucrative resales, and transferring criminal proceeds from corporate bank accounts to personal bank accounts once a victim company got wise to the fraud.  Thanks to our partner agencies here and abroad, Gillier now faces justice in an American court.”

According to the allegations in the Complaint and in the Indictment unsealed today:[1]

GILLIER and his co-conspirator (“CC-1”) were co-presidents of RTF, a Delaware corporation that was registered to do business in New York, which dealt in aircraft parts.[2]  GILLIER ran the day-to-day business activities of RTF and was a signatory on RTF’s bank accounts.  RTF began obtaining aircraft parts from Honeywell International, Inc. (“Honeywell”), in June 2004.  Starting in 2005, RTF began increasing the number of parts it ordered from Honeywell, paying for them by check.  RTF paid with checks written for amounts well above the cost of the parts, which created an apparent credit balance in RTF’s favor.  RTF wrote approximately $16.6 million worth of checks to Honeywell, but stopped payment on approximately $15.8 million worth of them.  As a result, RTF was able to obtain approximately $8 million worth of aircraft parts without paying for them, and RTF turned a profit when reselling those fraudulently obtained parts to customers for less than the price that Honeywell had charged RTF.

To execute the scheme, GILLIER signed checks to Honeywell on behalf of RTF, but repeatedly caused stop payment orders to be placed after Honeywell shipped the parts to RTF.  When questioned by Honeywell’s employees about these stop payment orders, GILLIER, using an alias, falsely represented that the stop payment orders were the result of a misunderstanding with the bank and that he would check with RTF’s finance department.  In fact, as GILLIER knew, he had issued the stop payment orders, and RTF did not have a finance department.  In June 2006, when Honeywell began seeking civil relief against RTF, GILLIER caused various large transfers of fraud proceeds into other bank accounts – accounts that, by way of example, belonged either to GILLIER, his relative, or CC-1’s relatives.

After Honeywell discovered that it was being victimized by RTF, GILLIER and CC-1 continued their fraud scheme through a new corporate entity, UAS.  (Despite its name, “UN Air Service, Inc.” had no relation to the United Nations.)  CC-1 was the president and owner of UAS, a Delaware corporation that dealt in aircraft parts, which CC-1 ran out of an apartment in Manhattan.  GILLIER helped CC-1 obtain the Manhattan apartment that was used to continue the fraud scheme by providing a reference for CC-1 (using an alias) and by paying CC-1’s initial rental fees.  In 2006, UAS began obtaining aircraft parts from Pratt & Whitney Component Solutions, Inc. (“Pratt & Whitney”).  Like RTF, UAS began stopping payment on checks it had written to Pratt & Whitney for the aircraft parts; like RTF, UAS sold those aircraft parts to third parties for less than the price that Pratt & Whitney had charged UAS.

GILLIER, 47, a citizen of Belgium, is charged with eight counts: (1) one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud, interstate transportation of stolen property, and money laundering, which carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison; (2) one count of mail fraud, which carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison; (3) one count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison; (4) one count of interstate transportation of stolen property, which carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison; and (5) and four counts of money laundering, each of which carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison.  The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.

Ms. Strauss praised the outstanding investigative work of Homeland Security Investigations and the U.S. Department of Defense, Defense Criminal Investigative Service.  She also thanked the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. Department of Commerce, law enforcement and prosecutorial authorities in Italy, including the Italian Ministry of Justice and Interpol Rome, Honeywell, and Pratt & Whitney for their assistance in this case.  The U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs of the Department’s Criminal Division provided significant assistance in securing the defendant’s extradition from Italy.

This matter is being handled by the Office’s Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael D. Neff is in charge of the prosecution.

 


[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Complaint and Indictment, and the descriptions of them set forth below, constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.  The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

[2] CC-1 died in March 2010, a few weeks after being arrested in this case and released on bail.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Contact: 
Jim Margolin, Nicholas Biase (212) 637-2600
Press Release Number: 
20-135
Updated June 26, 2020