Owner of Pennsylvania Aircraft Repair Business Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison
On November 4, 2014, Jay Stout, of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, was sentenced in U.S. District Court, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to 60 months incarceration, 36 months of supervised release, $503,340 in restitution to plane owners, and a $2,000 fine. Additionally, the now defunct aircraft maintenance company he was president of, Flying Tigers, Inc., was sentenced to 12 months of probation, and was ordered to cease any further operation.
In April 2014, a federal jury returned a guilty verdict and convicted Jay Stout and Flying Tigers Inc., after a nine day trial in Philadelphia, PA. The jury found Stout guilty of conspiracy, fraud involving aircraft parts, mail fraud, and obstruction of justice. The jury convicted the company on all charges.
Howard Gunter, a former FAA certified mechanic and inspector; Jay Stout, and Flying Tigers were charged with various crimes for their role in the conspiracy to conduct illicit aircraft repairs and fraudulent aircraft inspections at its Marietta, Pennsylvania, based operation. Gunter died of natural causes prior to trial. Joel Stout, Jay’s son and an employee at Flying Tigers, had also been charged in connection with the scheme and subsequently pleaded guilty.
The investigation revealed that in 2003, the FAA suspended Jay Stout's authority to conduct aircraft inspections, and ultimately in 2004, revoked both his maintenance and inspection authority. Joel Stout did not hold FAA inspection authority past March 2006. However, 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 transportation 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 conducted more than 100 questionable aircraft inspections and repairs between 2003 and 2010 affecting over 40 aircraft.