Investigations

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Two Officials of California Aircraft Parts Brokerage Firm Sentenced to Combined 22 Years in Jail and Ordered to Pay Nearly $5.5 Million in Case Involving Substitution of Flight-Critical Parts

On November 28, Amanullah J. Khan, former owner/operator of United Aircraft & Electronics, Inc. (UAE), Anaheim, CA, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana, CA to 15 years and 8 months in jail and ordered to pay nearly $5.5 million in restitution on numerous felony charges, including conspiracy and aircraft parts fraud. Khan pleaded guilty in 2003 during a jury trial to charges that, between 2000 and 2002, he falsely certified that a flight-critical part for Bell helicopters called a ‘grip assembly’ (which connects the helicopter tail rotor blades to the hub) sold by UAE was made of steel, rather than aluminum. Aluminum has a significantly shorter useful life than steel, and if a grip failed in flight, the helicopter would likely crash.

Khan also sold used turbine blades and other critical parts for jet aircraft; the parts were falsely certified as new and airworthy. While unapproved parts notifications and other customer alerts were issued by the FAA, DCIS, and Bell Helicopter; there are no known instances of parts failure in flight. Both Khan and UAE have been debarred from Government contracting for 50 years (expires July 2052) based on extensions of prior debarments resulting from SUPs cases investigated by the Air Force.

Khan’s sentence, including a stipulation that he never engage in an aircraft-related business without the approval of DOT, was impacted by a second case investigated by DHS/ICE in which Khan attempted to sell fighter jet parts to undercover agents who he thought were Chinese arms brokers. In that case, Khan pled guilty in 2004 to conspiracy and violating the Arms Export Control Act.

On November 7, Ziad J. Gammoh, a UAE salesman/purchaser who was charged with Khan in the false certification case and pled guilty in October 2003, was sentenced in the same U.S. District Court to 6 years and 6 months in jail and ordered to pay nearly $5.5 million (jointly with Khan) and $14,794 in restitution to the IRS. Gammoh was also ordered never to engage in any aircraft-related business without DOT approval.

The false certification/suspected unapproved parts (SUPs) case was investigated jointly with the FBI, DCIS, and Air Force-OSI, and with assistance from FAA.