Sacto 9-1-1
October 30, 2012
Granite Bay man enters guilty plea in aircraft repair case

A Granite Bay man pleaded guilty today in federal court in Sacramento to recklessly endangering the safety of an aircraft.

According to court documents, Jerry Edward Kuwata, 63, conspired with others to conceal from customers and the Federal Aviation Administration facts about repairs done by WECO Aerospace Systems Inc.

The firm was founded in 1974 with a repair station in Lincoln and another in Burbank. Among other activities, WECO repaired and overhauled aircraft electronic components and flight instruments, including electromechanical rotables and converters. But those repairs were not being done in accordance with the manufacturer's Component Maintenance Manual and FAA regulations, and false information about the repairs was communicated to customers, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

This conduct, authorities said, recklessly endangered the safety of aircraft that used the parts that WECO repaired, although there have been no known instances in which a fraudulent WECO repair resulted in an aircraft accident.

WECO was purchased in 2008 by Gulfstream. The alleged conduct occurred before the purchase and Gulstream has fully cooperated with law enforcement authorities in the investigation and prosecution of the case, according to the news release.

Sentencing for Kuwata by U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez has not been set.

Remaining co-defendants in the case include William Hugh Weygandt, 63, of Granite Bay; Scott Hamilton Durham, 39, of Roseville; Christopher Warren MacQueen, 53, of Lincoln; and Douglas Arthur Johnson, 52, of Granite Bay. Each is charged with conspiracy to commit fraud involving aircraft parts.

Michael Dennis Maupin, 58, of Arbuckle, and Anthony Vincent Zito, 47, of Saugus have pleaded guilty to violations stemming from the case and await sentencing.

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