South Florida Woman Pleads Guilty to Aircraft Parts Fraud Conspiracy
On August 10, 2012, Lisbet Gonzalez, former employee of Aircraft Transparencies Repair (ATR) and Transparencies Engineering Group (TEG), pled guilty in U.S. District Court, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to mail fraud in conjunction with a scheme involving the false representation that aircraft windows were overhauled properly when they were not.
Ms. Gonzalez, the sales manager and customer service representative at ATR, attempted to manipulate ATR's work order tracking system to fraudulently back date invoices, work orders, and other documentation. In particular, Ms. Gonzalez generated backdated FAA authorized release certificates, and other traceability documentation that was supplied to commercial aviation customers.
On March 22, 2012, a multi-count indictment was filed against 16 employees of ATR and TEG for conspiracy to sell and falsely certify to commercial aviation customers the airworthiness of aircraft cockpit windows. The investigation revealed that from approximately August 2009, to August 2010, ATR's employees continued repairing aircraft cockpit windows despite having its repair station certificate revoked in July 2009. As part of the scheme, ATR/TEG purchased "as removed" aircraft cockpit windows in the open market and backdated documents, to make it appear to the customer that the windows had been retrieved from ATR or TEG's inventory prior to ATR's repair station certificate revocation. Additionally, serial numbers on the windows that had been sent to ATR by its customers were changed to disguise the source of the windows and to further make it appear that all work had been performed prior to the repair station revocation.
This investigation is being worked jointly with the Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, with substantial assistance from the Federal Aviation Administration.