Monday, April 24, 2017

Arnold Gerald Leto III: Pilot sentenced to prison for flying without a license




An Orange County man has been sentenced to ten months in prison for flying a plane out of the Santa Monica Airport without a license. 

Last October, Arnold Gerald Leto III pleaded guilty to the charges, admitting to flying a Cessna Citation aircraft from Santa Monica Airport to Phoenix in 2015. In April, 2016, Leto piloted a Falcone 10 turbo-jet aircraft from Van Nuys Airport to Las Vegas, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office. On both occasions, Leto had passengers onboard.

The FAA has revoked Leto’s remaining airman certificates after finding various violations of Federal aviation regulations. Leto could have faced a statutory maximum sentence of six years in federal prison.

“Federal regulations governing the operation of aircraft and other common carriers are designed to protect the traveling public,” United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker said. “The investigation into Mr. Leto shows that he flagrantly violated these rules – and continued to do so after the FAA took action to take him out of the air. A swift and thorough investigation by the Department of Transportation has now improved the safety of all air travelers.”

The Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General investigated the case with assistance from the FAA. A Line Service Technician at the Van Nuys airport told the FAA inspector he saw Leto take off with seven or eight passengers without a second pilot April 8 last year, according to court documents. The FAA requires a pilot and co-pilot as minimum crew for the Cessna Model involved in the incident.

In court documents, Leto’s attorney argued for leniency, saying Leto cooperated with the FAA and provided information about his own conduct as well as several other people possibly engaged in criminal activity. According to the documents, Leto attempted to organize a sting that “got out of hand” when drug traffickers came to his “home with guns and demanded that he transport 500 pounds of Marijuana.” Leto was arrested during the incident.

Original article can be found here:   http://smdp.com

An Irvine man who flew private jets without a valid license was sentenced Monday to 10 months in prison.

Arnold Gerald Leto III last year pleaded guilty to illegally flying aircraft on two separate occasions, despite not having a required “airman certificate,” according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Along with the prison time, Leto, 36, was ordered to serve a year of supervised release after he is released, and to pay a $5,500 fine.

Leto, president of Irvine-based Aviation Financial Services, lost his pilot’s license after “various violations of federal aviation regulations,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

In his plea deal, Leto admitted to piloting a Cessna Citation from Santa Monica to Phoenix in January 2015, and a Falcon 10 turbo jet from Van Nuys Airport to Las Vegas in April 2016. During both trips, there were paid passengers.

Had the case gone to trial, Leto could have faced up to six years in prison.

Original article can be found here:  http://www.ocregister.com

May 19, 2016 -   An Irvine man was indicted Thursday for flying private jets without being certified to do so.

Arnold Gerald Leto III, 36, was indicted by a federal grand jury on two counts of piloting a plane without a license, according to court documents.

Leto piloted a twin engine Falcon 10 turbojet from Van Nuys Airport to Las Vegas on April 8 and a Cessna Citation turbojet on Jan. 30, 2015 from Santa Monica to Phoenix, the indictment said.

Prosecutors believe Leto piloted the Falcon 10 aircraft with about 8 people on board without the required co-pilot and had not been certified to operate the plane.

Leto, president of Irvine-based Aviation Financial Services Inc., had his pilot’s license revoked in January. It was unclear why.

Furthermore, he did not have a turbo-jet rating required to fly the planes.

“The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) requires pilots to be rated and trained for that plane (Falcon 10),” Federal prosecutor Mark Williams said when Leto was charged in April. “He was taking a large amount of passengers and charging significant amounts of money to do so.”

Calls and email to Leto’s attorney were not immediately returned.

He faces up to six years in federal prison. 

Original article can be found here:  http://www.ocregister.com

Orange County Pilot Charged with Flying Private Jet with Passengers Onboard without Having Proper License Issued by Federal Aviation Administration 

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Central District of California
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, April 27, 2016

LOS ANGELES – An Irvine man was arrested this morning on federal charges of illegally flying a twin-engine Falcon 10 turbojet airplane with passengers onboard without having a valid pilot’s license.

Arnold Gerald Leto III, 36, was charged in a criminal complaint filed yesterday in United States District court with operating an aircraft in air transportation without a valid airman’s certificate.

The affidavit in support of the criminal complaint alleges that Leto’s pilot’s license was revoked earlier this year, he operated the Falcon without having the required co-pilot, and he was never certified to fly this type of aircraft.

Leto is scheduled to be arraigned on the felony offense this afternoon in United States District Court.

Leto is charged will illegally flying the Falcon 10 from Van Nuys Airport to Las Vegas, Nevada, on April 8. Leto allegedly operated the aircraft with approximately eight passengers on board.

“Federal regulations governing the operation of aircraft and other common carriers are designed to protect the traveling public,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “The investigation into Mr. Leto shows that he flagrantly violated these rules – and continued to do so after the FAA took action to take him out of the air. A swift and thorough investigation by the Department of Transportation has now improved the safety of all air travelers.”

According to the complaint, the aircraft that Leo piloted alone is a complex aircraft that requires two pilots to operate. Furthermore, Leto’s defendant’s pilot certificate – which he failed to surrender after it was revoked by the Federal Aviation Administration in January – did not have a turbojet-type rating that would authorize him to fly that airplane.

A criminal complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

The charge alleged in the complaint carries a statutory maximum penalty of three years federal prison.

This case was investigated by the Department of Transportation – Office of Inspector General, with assistance by the Federal Aviation Administration.

“This case that alleges operating an aircraft without a valid airman’s certificate is a clear signal that those who would seek to circumvent or disregard transportation-related laws and regulations will face serious repercussions,” said William Swallow, regional Special Agent-In-Charge, U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of Inspector General. “Our agents will continue to work with federal, state, and local authorities to ensure safety for the traveling public.”

Original article can be found here:  https://www.justice.gov

Federal authorities have arrested and charged an Irvine man who flew a private jet with eight passengers after his pilot’s license had been revoked.

On April 8, Arnold Gerald Leto III, 36, flew a twin-engine Falcon 10 turbojet from Van Nuys Airport to Las Vegas, said federal prosecutor Mark Williams.

His pilot’s license was revoked in January for unknown reasons and was not certified to fly the turbojet.

“Even if he had his license, it still did not authorize him to operate the twin turbojet plane,” he said.

“The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) requires pilots to be rated and trained for that plane (Falcon 10),” Williams said. “He was taking a large amount of passengers and charging significant amounts of money to do so.”

Prosecutors believe Leto also flew the plane without a co-pilot, as required under FAA regulations.

Leto is the president of Irvine-based Aviation Financial Services Inc. and flies private jets for a living, Williams said.

He could not be reached Wednesday afternoon.

Authorities believe Leto has operated other flights since having his license revoked, Williams said.

“We have evidence of him flying more than once without a valid license,” Williams said.

He faces up to three years in federal prison.

A former Newport Beach pilot was charged in January of flying two Alaska Airlines flights in 2014 while intoxicated.

On June, 20, 2014, David Arntson, 60, was randomly tested minutes after his flight from Portland, Ore., to John Wayne Airport. His blood alcohol concentration level read 0.142 percent.

He quit his job before he could be fired. His case is still pending.

Original article can be found here: http://www.ocregister.com

1 comment:

Jim B said...

A little 10 month slap for a convicted rule-buster.

Leto will be back in business flying without a license beginning in 2018.

To some, busting rules is like a drug addiction.

The judge did not do his job.