FAA Employee Absconds With Hundreds of Government Assets

A Cessna 210 and a 44-foot Navy ROTC yacht are among the 215 items allegedly stolen by an FAA employee. The San Diego-based field technician apparently identified a vulnerable seam in a government computer program designed to allow different agencies to receive property from other agencies that no longer had need for the assets. Details of the case are still emerging, such as how the employee was able to take delivery of the items. According to an AP story, a relative picked up the yacht and transported it to Canada (where it remains, to date). The Cessna story is more complicated. Apparently, the employee took out insurance on the airplane and was compensated $45,000 when it was subsequently damaged in a storm. Federal authorities responded to a tip from a colleague of the offender, and he was allowed to continue to amass government property as the case was being established against him. An assistant U.S. attorney assigned to the case expressed concern as to whether or not this constitutes an isolated incident, or whether the practice of illegally acquiring government property by individuals in this way is "systemic" in scope.

Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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