On the third day of a federal court trial in Santa Ana, a 54-year-old Brea man pleaded guilty today for falsely certifying that flight-critical aircraft parts sold by his company.
Amanullah Khan pleaded guilty to 12 felony counts, including conspiracy and aircraft parts fraud.
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. For example, Khan certified that a flight-critical helicopter part called a grip assembly for certain Bell helicopters was a part 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.
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.
Khan pleaded guilty before United States District Judge David O. Carter, who is scheduled to sentence him on March 15, 2004. Khan faces a maximum possible sentence of 120 years in federal prison.
A second man charged in the same indictment, Ziad Jamil Gammoh, 53, of Tustin, pleaded guilty to the same 12 counts last month. Gammoh is scheduled for sentencing on March 29, 2004.
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 greatly aided by the cooperative efforts of representatives of Bell Helicopter and Pratt & Whitney.