Investigations

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California Man Guilty of Falsifying Airworthiness Certificates for Three Planes

The United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of California announced that James M. Hays was found guilty yesterday by a federal jury of three felony counts of making false airworthiness certifications in airplane logbooks in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1001. The convictions followed a six-day jury trial in Oakland before U.S. District Court Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong. Mr. Hays, 40, of Lakeport, California, was indicted by a federal grand jury on November 30, 2000. He was charged with falsely certifying that qualified aircraft inspectors had found three privately owned airplanes to be airworthy during required annual inspections. Evidence at trial showed that Mr. Hays, who at the time was an FAA-certified aircraft mechanic, was not qualified to conduct annual inspections.