On May 7, 2021, Hitesh Naginbhai Patel, a former FAA contractor, was charged by an information and pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia to theft and conversion of a Personal Identification Verification (PIV) card. On May 29, 2019, Patel informed a gate agent and flight crew scheduled from Atlanta to Cincinnati that Patel was an FAA inspector and used a former FAA PIV contractor credential to support the claim. During the boarding process, Patel allegedly demanded to be allowed to exit the aircraft before anyone else upon arrival in order to facilitate FAA business. The investigation confirmed that Patel has never been an FAA inspector or employee, but was once employed as a FAA contractor and was issued a PIV card, which ended in September 2017. All PIV cards are Federal Government property and Patel should have returned it to FAA at the completion of the contract work.
DOT-OIG is conducting this investigation with assistance from FAA.
Note: Indictments, informations, and criminal complaints are only accusations by the Government, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.