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Former News Helicopter Pilot Sentenced in Northern California

On October 2, 2014, John Michael Dial, of Skaneateles, New York, was sentenced in U.S. District Court, Sacramento, California, to 2 years incarceration and 12 months of supervised release. A restitution hearing has been set for December 18, 2014.

The investigation revealed that from December 16, 2009, to August 4, 2010, Dial was hired as a television news helicopter pilot and operated news helicopters in the San Francisco, California, area under a false identity. Then, on March 15, 2012, Dial was hired under his real name to work as a television news helicopter pilot in Sacramento, California. Dial submitted a fraudulent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Temporary Airman Certificate and an FAA Medical Second Class Certificate under his real name. Dial flew for the television station without having a valid pilot certificate. Dial also used the identity of a former co-worker to gain employment as a helicopter pilot with an air ambulance service in New York and created a fraudulent United States passport using that person's identity. Dial was using false identities for numerous years in order to pilot aircraft since he did not have a valid pilot certificate under his real name. 

We conducted this investigation with the United States Secret Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the Cascade, Idaho, and McCall, Idaho, Police Departments.