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U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA, ISSUES ANNOUNCEMENT REGARDING NORTHEAST JET CO. INDICTMENT

 U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA,
 ISSUES ANNOUNCEMENT REGARDING NORTHEAST JET CO. INDICTMENT
 PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Michael M. Baylson, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania; A. Mary Schiavo, the inspector general, U.S. Department of Transportation and Thomas C. Richards, administrator, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), today announced the filing of a nine-count indictment charging IJA Incorporated, d/b/a "Northeast Jet Company, Inc.," (Northeast Jet) of Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton Airport; Earl M. Holtz, 48, of 3419 Bath Pike, Bethlehem, Pa.; Meta B. Buttenheim, 42, of County Route 13, Old Chatham, New York; George Tomasic, 62, of Coplay, Pa.; Robert K. Tameris, 37, of 2013 Charter Point, Arlington Heights, Ill. 60004; and Steve T. Klidonas, 61, of 2010 Aster Road, Macungie, Pa., with conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371.
 The indictment further charges Northeast Jet and Earl M. Holtz with eight counts of making false statements to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001 and aiding and abetting, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2.
 The indictment charges that Northeast Jet was an on-demand air charter operation based at the Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton Airport which operated approximately a dozen jet aircraft and was primarily controlled by defendant Holtz who was the owner and president of Northeast Jet. The indictment alleges that Northeast Jet, its management and employees along with former FAA employee Klidonas, engaged in a conspiracy to defraud the FAA.
 Specifically, the indictment alleges that Northeast Jet, through its management, intentionally directed its pilots to violate FAA regulations by operating its aircraft with serious uncorrected maintenance problems, in excess of maximum allowable aircraft weights and beyond pilot flight and duty time limitations. The flight crews and maintenance personnel were then directed to falsify records required to be kept by FAA regulations so that it would appear that Northeast Jet was operating in compliance with FAA regulations. These records included, but were not limited to, flight manifests, maintenance records and training records. The indictment further alleges that Northeast Jet kept a double set of maintenance records.
 The indictment charges that Steve T. Klidonas, a former FAA inspector in the Allentown Flight Standards District Office, discovered that Northeast Jet was intentionally operating its jet aircraft with uncorrected maintenance problems. Rather than halting Northeast Jet's operations, the indictment alleges that Klidonas advised Northeast Jet employees to establish a double set of maintenance records to conceal that the aircraft were being operated in violation of FAA regulations, a falsified set for inspection by Klidonas and other FAA inspectors, and an accurate set for the information of the pilots and maintenance personnel. Thereafter, Klidonas is alleged to have repeatedly reported to the FAA that Northeast Jet's operations were in compliance with FAA regulations.
 The indictment charges that in December 1987 though January 1988, Northeast Jet operated one of its Lear Jets with an inoperative landing gear warning horn. This jet was involved in an incident at Chester County Airport when it attempted to land with its landing gear retracted, resulting in structural damage to the aircraft due in part to the inoperative landing gear warning horn. The indictment further alleges that Northeast Jet used aircraft to fly revenue flights with engines that failed in flight and engines that failed on takeoff and with faulty nose-wheel steering mechanisms.
 The indictment also charges that Northeast Jet did not administer Pilot Proficiency/Competency checks ("Checkrides") for its pilots as required by FAA regulations. Northeast Jet then filed with the FAA Pilot Proficiency/Competency forms which falsely indicated that the Checkrides had been given.
 If convicted, defendant Holtz faces up to 45 years imprisonment, three years supervised release and a $2,250,000 fine. The remaining defendants face up to five years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine and three years supervised release. The indictment is the result of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of Inspector General and the Federal Aviation Administration. Prosecution has been assigned to Assistant U.S. Attorney Frederick A. Tecce.
 /delval/
 -0- 8/13/92
 /CONTACT: Assistant U.S. Attorney Frederick A. Tecce, 215-597-4087/ CO: U.S. Attorney's Office; Federal Aviation Administration; U.S.
 Department of Transportation; Northeast Jet Company, Inc.; ST: Pennsylvania IN: AIR SU:


CC-JS -- PH032 -- 9816 08/13/92 16:29 EDT
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Date:Aug 13, 1992
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