A former FAA Safety Inspector has been sentenced to 75 months in prison after being convicted of 21 criminal counts related to his participation in a bribery and fraud scheme. 42-year-old Manuel R. Fernandez of Miami was convicted after a jury trial.
Evidence at trial showed that from 2010 through June 28, 2013, Fernandez worked as an FAA Aviation Safety Inspector with the FAA South Florida Flight Standards District Office. Rolando Suarez and Patricia Suarez were co-owners, officers, and directors of AVCOM which is an aviation repair company based out of Miami.
The company was subject to jurisdiction and official responsibility of the FAA South Florida FSDO. While working for the FAA, Fernandez served multiple roles at AVCOM including Vice President of Operations. Fernandez violated his lawful and official duties with the FAA while receiving more than $150,000 in cash, jewelry, a cruise, and clothing from Patricia Suarez and Rolando Suarez.
Approximately $15,000 was funneled to Fernandez’s mother as well. Fernandez has been ordered to surrender to authorities on January 6, 2020 to begin his prison sentence. Rolando Suarez pled guilty and was given 24 months in prison. Patricia Suarez also pled guilty and was sentenced to 5 years of probation. The pair has been ordered to jointly pay $711,940.46 in restitution.
Further details can be found here.