On June 23, 2020, former Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) contractor Hitesh Naginbhai Patel was indicted in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia for impersonating an FAA inspector and misuse of a personal identification verification (PIV) card.
The indictment followed a DOT-OIG investigation into allegations that on May 29, 2019, Patel informed the gate agent and flight crew of a flight scheduled from Atlanta to Cincinnati that he was an FAA inspector, using his former FAA PIV contractor credential to support his claim. During the boarding process, Patel allegedly demanded that on arrival, he be allowed to exit the aircraft before anyone else in order to facilitate FAA business. The investigation confirmed that Patel has never been an FAA inspector or FAA employee. Patel was once employed as a FAA contractor and was issued a PIV card in connection with this employment, which ended in September 2017. All PIV cards are Federal Government property and Patel should have returned his to FAA when he left employment as a contractor. On July 1, 2020, DOT-OIG special agents arrested Patel.
DOT-OIG is conducting this investigation with assistance from the FAA.
Note: Indictments, informations, and complaints are only accusations by the Government. All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.