July 21, 2005
Operation Safe Pilot has resulted in the indictment of forty individuals.
U.S. Department of Justice, United States Attorney for the Northern District of California reports here that 30 defendants were charged with violations of 18 USC 1001 (False Statements to a Government Agency), and 10 additional individuals were charged with violations of 18 USC 1018 (Making and Delivering a False Official Writing). The allegations against the indicted individuals were that "[w]hile claiming to be medically fit to fly an airplane, the defendants were also collecting disability benefits from the Social Security Administration based on serious medical and psychological conditions, which would have prevented them from operating an aircraft."
The Press Release states that:
"Operation Safe Pilot began with a review of 40,000 pilots residing in the northern half of the State of California. Federal agents identified numerous pilots with current flight medical certificates, who were receiving disability benefit payments. Although the operation identified pilots who claimed to be suffering from an array of illnesses, agents focused only on the most egregious claims of disabilities. The illnesses ranged from schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, drug or alcohol addiction, disabling back condition, or the presence of severe heart condition.
Federal Agents selected the most blatant instances of fraud which totaled 40 pilots. Of those 40 pilots, a number were airline transport and commercial pilots, as well as medical doctors."
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