Representatives of a Florida-based aircraft maintenance company have pleaded guilty to charges relating to distributing parts with falsified documentation to Canadian airlines.

Former Sofly Aviation Services vice-president Daniel Navarro and procurement specialist Jorge Guerrero admitted conspiracy to defraud at a 6 March hearing, says the US Department of Justice.

Sofly Aviation Services, based in Miami, had been the subject of a warning from Transport Canada in early 2020.

Transport Canada issued a civil aviation safety alert stating that it had received “several” service difficulty reports stating that Sofly appeared to have distributed parts with falsified authorised release certificates.

Organisations named on the certificates, it said, had denied manufacturing or maintaining the parts, and denied employing the personnel who certified them.

DOJ-c-Department of Justice

Source: Department of Justice

Sofly Aviation Services had been the subject of a civil aviation safety alert in 2020

Court records showed that the two accused – from 2012 to 2019 – purchased removed aircraft parts and resold them with certificates falsely claiming the components to be airworthy under US FAA and European Union Aviation Safety Agency regulations.

The Department of Justice says the scheme involved using an approved FAA repair station’s certificate number to indicate the parts had been overhauled, tested or repaired by that station.

“In fact they never were,” states the department, adding that buyers of the parts – including Canadian airlines and a US defence contractor – were “misled”.

US attorney Markenzy Lapointe, for the Southern District of Florida, says prosecutors are “committed to protecting foreign and domestic airlines” from those who sell aircraft parts which are “falsely and dangerously” claimed to be airworthy.

Office of Inspector General, Southern Region, special agent-in-charge Joseph Harris says “nefarious schemes” which compromise the aviation supply chain “will not be tolerated”.