29 November – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – A 56-year-old Brea man has been sentenced to188 months in federal prison for falsely certifying flight-critical aircraft parts sold by his company and for selling parts for military jet fighters to China.
Amanullah Khan was sentenced Monday evening by United States District Judge David O. Carter in Santa Ana. In addition to the prison term, Judge Carter ordered Khan to pay restitution of more than $5.4 million.
Two years ago, in the midst of a jury trial, Khan pleaded guilty to 12 felony counts, including conspiracy and aircraft parts fraud, in the case involving the parts that were fraudulently certified.
From 2000 to 2002, Khan operated an aircraft parts brokerage called United Aircraft & Electronics in Anaheim. Khan issued a series of false certifications and other documents that claimed aircraft parts he sold were something they were not. In just over one year, Khan’s company earned approximately $5 million by selling parts with fraudulent paperwork.
Specifically, Khan certified that a flight-critical helicopter part called a grip assembly for certain Bell helicopters was made of steel, when in fact the part was made of aluminum. While the aluminum grip assembly can be used on the helicopters, its useful life of 300 hours is significantly shorter than the 2,500 hours of useful life for the steel part. Before shipping the grip assemblies to his customer Khan altered them by removing and replacing data plates that reflected what the grip assembly was made of.
Khan also sold flight-critical jet engine parts called turbine blades and vanes. Khan sent certifications to his customers, including airworthiness certifications issued by the Federal Aviation Administration, to certify that the parts were new. In fact, the blades and vanes had been previously used on jet engines. At Khan’s direction, cosmetic repair and re-conditioning work were performed on the blades and vanes to make them appear to be new, and Khan then sold the used parts in counterfeit packaging from the original manufacturer, Pratt & Whitney.
Khan also falsely certified aircraft parts destined for use on U.S. military aircraft, including F-16 and F-4 fighters, as well as the C-130 Hercules.
In a second case which was filed by the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, Khan pleaded guilty to conspiracy and violating the Arms Export Control Act. This second case was the result of Operation Dark Star, an investigation conducted by undercover agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. During Dark Star, Khan agreed to sell components for fighter aircraft and military helicopters to the undercover agents, who were posing as Chinese arms brokers.
Noting Khan’s prior conviction for selling aircraft parts with false certifications, Judge Carter said that defendant’s return to falsely certifying aircraft parts demonstrated that he was a “menace to worldwide air safety.”
A second man charged with Khan in the false certification case, Ziad Jamil Gammoh, 55, of Tustin, was sentenced two weeks ago by Judge Carter to 78 months in prison.
This case was investigated by the Department of Transportation, Office of the Inspector General; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Defense Criminal Investigative Service; U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigation; and the Federal Aviation Administration. These agencies were aided by the cooperative efforts of representatives of Bell Helicopter and Pratt & Whitney.
CONTACT: Assistant United States Attorney Douglas F. McCormick
Release No. 03-159