Former WECO Owner Sentenced for Fraudulent Aircraft Part Repairs
On July 9, 2014, U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez sentenced the former owner and president of WECO Aerospace Systems Inc., William Weygandt, to 30 months in prison and 36 months supervised release (restitution to be determined at a hearing in September 2014). The sentence came as a result of a three-week trial in November 2013 where a federal jury found Weygandt guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud involving aircraft parts repair.
WECO was a Federal Aviation Administration-certified repair business with facilities in Lincoln and Burbank, California. Weygandt began working for WECO upon its founding in 1974 by his father. By 2005, he was the president and sole owner. In January 2007, Weygandt sold the 75-employee company to Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation for approximately $17 million, and remained as president of the company until February 1, 2008.
According to evidence presented at trial, WECO was permitted by the FAA to repair certain types of aircraft parts, including starter generators and converters, used on various types of aircraft, including small helicopters used by tour companies and law enforcement agencies. However, evidence at trial established that WECO employees at both its Lincoln and Burbank repair stations regularly failed to follow FAA regulations in repairing and overhauling the aircraft parts and falsely certified the parts passed tests and had been repaired in accordance with FAA standards.