Two Guilty of Selling Counterfeit Aircraft Parts to Canadian Airlines

Published: 14 March 2024

Trans Canada AirlinesCanadian airlines purchased counterfeit aircraft parts from two Florida businessmen working at Sofly Aviation Services (Sofly). (Photo: Thornfield Hall, Wikimedia, License)

By Lieth Carrillo

Two Americans pleaded guilty to selling counterfeit aviation parts that misled buyers into thinking that they were airworthy, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida reported Tuesday.

Daniel Navarro, 50, and Jorge Guerrero, 71, sold counterfeit airline parts to Canadian airlines and a U.S. Department of Defense contractor, which they fraudulently claimed to be airworthy under American and European regulations.

Navarro is a former Vice President of Sofly Aviation Services, an aviation parts distribution company based in Miami Lakes, Florida; Guerrero is a Procurement & Asset Management Specialist for the same company.

Taking advantage of their roles within the company, they purchased aircraft parts "as removed", i.e., in the same condition when they were taken from the aircraft. Parts can be classified as such when they are fully-operational and merely removed from an aircraft, or when they are faulty and can no longer operate as intended.

They then resold them using fake certificates and permits that fraudulently claimed they were in compliance with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) safety standards.

The counterfeit safety tags promoted the parts as having been overhauled, tested, inspected or repaired by an approved FAA or EASA repair station.

“Falsifying the airworthiness of aircraft parts poses a significant danger to the public and our service members,” stated Special Agent-in-Charge of the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General and Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS).

Navarro and Guerrero each face a potential maximum prison sentence of five years, followed by a probationary period of up to three years. They could also be fined up to US$250,000.

They also voluntarily agreed to relinquish any property acquired as a result of their fraudulent sales. Sentencing hearings have been scheduled for May 23, 2024.