Investigations

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San Francisco Student Pilot Sentenced for Falsification of His FAA Airman's Medical Application

On December 6, Michael Shelby Ascarte, a student helicopter pilot, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Sacramento, California, to 10 hours of community service and six months probation for making a false statement on his 2001 airman’s medical application. Ascarte failed to report on his application that he had been both diagnosed and was receiving Social Security Disability benefits, since 1997, for certain mental disorders and a substance dependency, which is a disqualifying condition. Ascarte was one of 45 pilots charged in a joint investigation called “Operation Safe Pilot,” conducted by the DOT and Social Security Administration OIGs. To date, this investigation has resulted in criminal charges being brought against 45 California residents for making false statements to the FAA on their airman medical applications.