Two Montana Helicopter Repair Companies and Owner Indicted on Fraud Charges
On November 28, the U.S. District Court in Billings, MT, unsealed an indictment charging Garlick Helicopters, Inc.; Double "R" Flying Service, Inc.; and Ronald Dean Garlick, the owner of both companies; on two counts of fraud involving aircraft parts and one count of making false statements. Garlick and his companies are accused of misrepresenting the airworthiness condition of two rotor blades sold to a Eugene, OR, company in July 2003 and installed on a UH-1 helicopter used for logging. The helicopter subsequently made two emergency landings due to tears on the rotor blades. Garlick allegedly told the buyer that the blades were new surplus, when in fact the parts had more than 1,000 hours of use.
Garlick is also accused of coercing one of his employees to sign a "return to service" tag for a part used to control the main rotor blades on a Bell OH-58A helicopter. The employee was not authorized to certify parts as ready for service. Additionally, there were no records indicating prior usage of the part. No date has been set for trial. This case was investigated by OIG and the FBI, with assistance from the FAA.
Garlick was convicted in 1998 on similar charges. He served a year in prison and paid a $20,000 fine.
Note: The charges contained in the indictments are allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.