ATLANTA – Aviation maintenance student Frank A. Jalion Amaro has been charged with bribing a Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) Designated Mechanic Examiner in exchange for receiving a passing score on the FAA’s Airframe and Powerplant examination.
“The integrity of America’s civil aviation system is of paramount importance,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “By allegedly trying to bribe his way into obtaining an FAA certification to repair aircrafts, Amaro put his personal ambitions ahead of the safety of others.”
“Blatant actions that seek to circumvent FAA certification requirements will not be tolerated,” said Todd A. Damiani, Regional Special Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General. “Together with our prosecutorial partners, we are committed to identifying and preventing those individuals willing to compromise the safety of the National Airspace System and the traveling public.”
According to U.S. Attorney Pak, the charges, and other information presented in court: The FAA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation that is responsible for the regulation and oversight of civil aviation in the United States, including the operation and development of the National Airspace System and the management of commercial space transportation. The FAA’s primary mission is to ensure the safety of civil aviation.
As part of its responsibility to protect the integrity and safety of the American civil aviation system, the FAA requires mechanics and repairmen to obtain an Airframe and Powerplant Certificate to perform maintenance on aircraft and approve equipment for returns to service. To receive an Airframe and Powerplant Certificate, the FAA requires mechanics to complete 1,900 hours of classroom and practical training and to pass several tests covering 43 technical subjects.
Amaro was a student at an aviation maintenance school in Las Vegas, Nevada. In late 2019, Amaro was preparing to take the examination to obtain an FAA Airframe and Powerplant Certificate. On November 19, 2019, Amaro contacted an FAA Designated Mechanic Examiner (“FAA Examiner”) in the Atlanta-metropolitan area. As a Designated Mechanic Examiner, the FAA authorized the FAA Examiner to perform activities on its behalf, including administering the Airframe and Powerplant examination.
Beginning on November 19, 2019, Amaro (using an alias and spoofed phone number) contacted the FAA Examiner and offered to pay the FAA Examiner a bribe payment in exchange for receiving a passing score on the Airframe and Powerplant examination. The FAA Examiner immediately reported Amaro’s bribe solicitation and, thereafter, agreed to work with federal law enforcement authorities.
Over the next several weeks, Amaro and the FAA Examiner agreed that Amaro would take the Airframe and Powerplant examination in Duluth, Georgia, on December 16, 2019. As part of the agreement, Amaro offered to pay the FAA Examiner $500 upfront and $2,000 on the day of the test, in exchange for receiving a passing score on the Airframe and Powerplant examination.
On December 9, 2019, Amaro sent the FAA Examiner $500 via a mobile payment service. On December 16, 2019, Amaro met the FAA Examiner in Duluth and paid the FAA Examiner $2,000 in cash for a passing score on the Airframe and Powerplant examination.
Based on the conduct set forth above, the U.S. Attorney charged Frank A. Jalion Amaro, 21, of Las Vegas, Nevada, in a criminal information with bribery. Notably, defendants who are charged via a criminal information, typically plead guilty shortly after being arraigned.
The Department of Transportation – Office of Inspector General is investigating this case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey W. Davis, Chief of the Public Integrity and Special Matters Section, is prosecuting the case.