Northstate aircraft mechanic charged with fraud

REDDING, Calif. - A federal grand jury handed down a two-count indictment Wednesday against 65-year-old Randy L. Thompson of Anderson.

Thompson has been charged with fraud involving aircraft parts, and had been operating under the business name Thompson's Air.

According to court documents obtained by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Thompson installed a cracked crankshaft into a Pennsylvania customer's private airplane back in 2010.

The documents state an FAA-certified repair station had twice sent tags documenting that the crankshaft was cracked and was no longer suitable for use on an aircraft.

Not heeding the FAA-certification repair station's warnings, Thompson still allegedly installed the falsely certified part.

After approximately 90 hours of operation, the crankshaft failed in flight, and the aircraft was forced to make an emergency landing in a field. No one was injured.

If convicted, Thompson faces a maximum statutory penalty of 15 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

This case was the product of a duel investigation by the Department of Transportation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Thompson is scheduled to be arraigned this Friday, Feb 14.

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