Monday, March 05, 2012

Ex-Cessna mechanic sentenced to 18 months

WICHITA — A former Cessna mechanic who fled to Ecuador after he was charged with stealing aircraft parts was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison Monday, said U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom.

Former Cessna Aircraft Co. mechanic Diego Alejandro Paz-Teran had asked for leniency at his sentencing for selling stolen parts on eBay.

Teran was on the lam for two years before returning to the United States to face the charges.

Besides the 18-month sentence, Paz-Teran, 35, of Wichita, also was ordered to pay $130,000 restitution.

His sentencing came a week after U.S. District Judge Monti Belot angrily postponed a hearing over the testimony of a government witness.

The judge at the time berated the prosecutor over a Cessna employee who was unable to answer questions on the stand about the value of the stolen parts.

Paz-Teran pleaded guilty to one count of interstate transportation of stolen property.

In his plea, Paz-Teran said he stole aircraft parts from Cessna and sold them on Ebay.

According to court documents, the investigation began in November 2008 when an employee of a Rockwell Collins Company distributor saw a Collins AHC-3000 Attitude Reference Computer offered for sale on eBay for $9,000.

Knowing that the part was valued at more than $45,000, the distributor contacted the seller and asked for serial numbers. Cessna tracked the serial numbers to a part that was removed from an XLS Plus aircraft while it was being painted.

Investigators found other stolen aircraft parts being sold on the same eBay account and followed records on the account to Paz-Teran at his home in Wichita.

Grissom commended the U.S. Department of Transportation — Office of Inspector General, the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Assistant U.S. Attorney Matt Treaster for their work on the case.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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