Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Aviation student pleads guilty to bribing test administrator to pass FAA exam

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A former aircraft maintenance student from Las Vegas has pleaded guilty to attempting to bribe a test administrator for a passing grade on his Federal Aviation Administration exam, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Frank A. Jalion Amaro, 21, was charged in March after traveling to Duluth and offering to pay the FAA-designated examiner $2,500 to pass him on the agency’s required Airframe and Powerplant test, authorities said.

The FAA requires mechanics to obtain the certification in order to perform aircraft maintenance and approve equipment for returns to service, officials said. Mechanic students must take 1,900 hours of classroom and practical training before passing several tests covering 43 technical subjects.

Using an alias and fake phone number, prosecutors said Amaro contacted the instructor in November and tried to bribe him. The administrator immediately notified authorities of the solicitation attempt and agreed to work with them, federal prosecutors said.

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Over the next several weeks, Amaro and the FAA Examiner agreed that Amaro would take the Airframe and Powerplant examination in Duluth on Dec. 16. As part of the agreement, Amaro paid the test administrator $500 up front and another $2,000 the day of his test in exchange for the passing score.

“The public trusts that the men and women who perform maintenance on commercial aircraft have the proper credentials and qualifications,” U.S. Attorney BJay Pak said in a statement. “By attempting to buy his certification, Amaro took the easy way out and could have put the safety of those citizens who fly in jeopardy.”

Amaro pleaded guilty to one count of criminal information with bribery, authorities said. It wasn’t immediately clear if his sentencing hearing has been scheduled.

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