Guam – After years of building a federal case against them, the executives for Hansen Helicopters have finally been arrested and charged with conspiracy, fraud and money laundering.
It took years to build the case against them with the first hint of any kind of investigation surfacing in January of last year when Hansen Helicopters sued the federal government for seizing its helicopters without reason.
More than a year later, the federal government has finally produced its reasons in a 23-count indictment charging Hansen owner Jon Walker, Executive Vice President Marvin Reed, Operations Director Kenneth Crowe and Maintenance Director Phillip Kapp with conspiracy, fraud, money laundering and attempted destruction of aircraft, among other charges.
A day after the indictment was filed, the four executives were arrested.
The indictment details years of fraud dating back to 1997 when court papers indicate Hansen began falsifying inspection documents “for the purpose of reducing costs and maximizing the profits.”
At least three helicopters were identified in court papers as having been falsified, including one involved in a fatal crash. That aircraft, according to federal authorities was involved in a crash in 1997, but the proper repairs and maintenance were never performed.
Nearly 18 years later, in Sept. 2015, that same helicopter crashed at sea and plummeted to the bottom of the ocean, killing its pilot. To cover up their negligence, federal authorities say Kapp made fraudulent entries into the helicopter’s log book to show inspections were made while knowing it was all a lie.
With the faked log book entries, Crowe then submitted an accident report to the National Transportation Safety Board. When authorities asked for the aircraft’s registration and certificate of airworthiness, Crowe allegedly told them it was at the bottom of the ocean along with the helicopter. It turns out as investigators would later learn during a raid of Crowe’s Harmon offices, the registration was never on the helicopter—it was hidden in Crowe’s office.
Authorities also revealed another helicopter crash that was falsified, this one happening in 2017. Crowe allegedly submitted an incident report claiming the pilot and spotter only suffered minor injuries with no damage to the helicopter, “when in fact, Crowe then and there knew, the pilot and spotter sustained serious injuries and aircraft N805LA sustained significant damage.”
To hide the evidence, the prosecution says Crowe “ordered that aircraft N805LA be allowed to sink to the ocean floor after it had crashed on the surface.”
In addition to the $4.6 million the feds have already seized from Hansen’s multiple bank accounts, they are also asking for forfeiture of another $5 million, the amount they believe was used for money laundering purposes.