Former Flying Tigers Official Sentenced in Pennsylvania Fraud Case Involving False Aircraft Inspections
On May 14, 2014, Joel Stout, of Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, was sentenced in U.S. District Court, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to 60 months probation and 60 hours of community service. Stout, an Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certified A&P mechanic and former employee of Flying Tigers Inc., previously pled guilty to criminal charges related to his participation in a complex fraud involving unauthorized aircraft inspections. Joel Stout's father, Jay Stout, the president of Flying Tigers, Inc., was convicted of numerous counts after a nine day jury trial in Philadelphia. Joel Stout provided substantial cooperation to the prosecution and testified at the trial on the government's behalf.
The investigation revealed that in 2003, the FAA suspended Jay Stout's authority to conduct aircraft inspections, and ultimately in 2004, revoked both his airframe and powerplant certification and his inspection authorization certification. Joel Stout, former director of operations at Flying Tigers, Inc., did not hold FAA inspection authority past March 2006. The prosecution proved that at various times between October 2003 and January 2010, Flying Tigers, Inc. charged customers for the annual inspections of their aircraft despite the absence of a certified mechanic with inspection authority. The six-year aviation safety investigation revealed that the defendants routinely altered airframe and engine logbooks and made false entries to conceal their actions. Once Jay Stout learned of the Government's investigation, he obstructed the investigation by altering aircraft logbooks in order to conceal the false certifications. Flying Tigers, Inc. conducted more than 100 questionable aircraft inspections and repairs between 2003 and 2010 involving over 40 aircraft.
Howard Gunter, a former FAA inspector also charged in the scheme, recently died of natural causes prior to the trial.
We conducted this investigation with assistance from FAA.