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Former FAA-Designated Airworthiness Representative Pleads Guilty to Aircraft Parts Fraud

On February 21, 2018, Edward Carl Fernandez pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court, Miami, Florida, to falsely representing the airworthiness condition of numerous commercial aircraft parts. 

The investigation disclosed that Fernandez, acting in his capacity as an FAA-designated airworthiness representative in South Florida, failed to physically inspect aircraft parts prior to issuing FAA Form 8130-3, Authorized Release Certificate/Airworthiness Approval Tag, certifying the parts’ airworthiness. 

A review of documents seized by DOT-OIG special agents disclosed the process. A parts broker would email Fernandez, requesting airworthiness approval tags for some aircraft parts. The email requests routinely included a pre-filled Form 8130-3, ready for Fernandez’ signature, and pictures of the parts. Within a few days, often within hours or minutes, Fernandez would email a scanned copy of the form with his signature to the parts broker, who paid Fernandez $75 for each certification. 

Specifically, on or about February 19, 2013, Fernandez received an email requesting an airworthiness approval tag for a commercial hydraulic adapter fitting. The email consisted of digital photographs, traceability documents allegedly pertaining to the aircraft part, and a pre-filled form awaiting Fernandez’ signature. Approximately 8 minutes later, Fernandez emailed a signed copy of the form attesting to the airworthiness of the part, although he had not done the required physical inspection. 

DOT-OIG conducted this investigation with FAA’s assistance.