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By:   Martin R. Raskin

Raskin & Raskin

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I.                   The ValuJet Crash - A Case Study in New Methods of Aviation Enforcement


On May 11, 1996, ValuJet Flight 592 from Miami, carrying 110 passengers and crew,  crashed into the Florida Everglades, leaving no survivors.  Immediately, teams from the NTSB and the FAA descended on the Everglades to investigate the cause of the accident.  Within days it became apparent that the likely cause of the disaster was a fire in the cargo hold fueled by time-expired oxygen generators which had been placed on flight 592 as COMAT (returned company materials).  The oxygen generators had been removed from three ValuJet MD 80s, which recently had been modified by SabreTech at its maintenance facility in Miami.   

Almost immediately, in an effort to discover the cause of the crash, NTSB and FAA investigators conducted numerous interviews of SabreTech mechanics and employees.  These interviews usually took place before those individuals had spoken with the company=s, or their own, lawyers.  This became particularly relevant since, soon after the accident, it became clear that both federal and state prosecuting authorities were investigating the accident and that ValuJet, SabreTech and their employees were subjects of those investigations.  The FBI executed a search warrant at SabreTech=s Miami facility and served wide-ranging grand jury subpoenas duces tecum on SabreTech and ValuJet.  Indeed, at one point, Metro-Dade police officers posted themselves outside the gates of the Miami SabreTech facility in an attempt to interview employees on their way to and from work.  In addition, FBI agents and state law enforcement authorities visited employees at their homes at night in an attempt to interview them.  Representatives of the U.S. Attorney=s Office for the Southern District of Florida, the FBI and the Metro-Dade (Miami) Police were present at the NTSB hearings into the ValuJet crash. 

The stage was set for the first, full scale criminal investigation into the facts and circumstances underlying a United States aviation disaster.  In the months following the crash, grand jury subpoenas were issued and witnesses were immunized.  Hundreds of thousands of pages of maintenance and other business records were produced to the government.  SabreTech, its employees, and its executives were placed under the government microscope.  And, as is typical of so-called Awhite collar@ criminal investigations, the potential bounds of the inquiry had the capacity to C and did  C widen quickly.   

In July 1999, the United States Attorney=s Office for the Southern District of Florida filed a 24 count indictment charging SabreTech and three of its mechanics with conspiring to falsify aircraft records, falsifying aircraft records, violating hazardous materials regulations, and placing a destructive device aboard an airplane.  This charging decision was notable for any number of reasons, not the least of which was that a number of the counts pertained to maintenance paperwork having absolutely nothing to do with ValuJet.  The inclusion of these unrelated charges demonstrated that once SabreTech was placed in the government=s crosshairs, any aspect of its business was fair game. 

The government=s decision to pursue criminal charges in connection with the ValuJet crash is a particularly visible bellwether of a growing focus on criminal enforcement in the aviation industry.  The United States Attorney in Miami, for one, has announced publicly that criminal prosecution of aviation- related misconduct is a top priority of his administration.  For example: 


* In 1997, a Fine Air plane crashed on takeoff from Miami International Airport, killing 5 people.  Within days of the crash, a former Fine Air pilot appeared on the local television news and charged that Fine Air=s management routinely required its employees to fly with improperly loaded cargo. Ultimately, the NTSB determined that the crash resulted from improperly loaded cargo.  On March 27, 2000, Fine Air and a cargo handling firm, Aeromar Airlines, pled guilty to various charges including making false statements and obstructing the government=s investigation by destroying and covering up evidence.  Pursuant to their plea agreements, the companies will be fined a total of $5 million dollars and each will receive 4 years corporate probation.


* In late 1997, federal prosecutors in Miami filed a three count information against the president of a freight forwarding company for  shipping a highly corrosive pesticide on an American Airlines passenger jet.  In May 1998, the president pled guilty to the information and was sentenced to 8 months in prison.


* In April 1998, after a three year criminal investigation conducted by the U.S. Attorney=s Office in conjunction with the DOT Office of Inspector General and the FAA, Arrow Air, a Miami-based cargo airline, pled guilty to charges that it made false statements in connection with the tagging and sale of aircraft parts which had been Aparted out@ of aircraft lacking U.S. airworthiness certificates.  The company paid millions of dollars in fines.

The occurrence of similar criminal prosecutions has continued through 1999 and into the new millennium.[1]  In late 1999, American Airlines pled guilty to criminal charges in which it admitted violating federal laws governing the storage of hazardous materials.  In addition to an $8 million fine, American agreed to enter into a compliance plan, a move which signals an intention of prosecutors to assume a role traditionally held by the FAA. Upon announcement of American=s plea, prosecutors vowed, Athere is more to come.@   

Although the U.S. Attorney=s Office for the Southern District of Florida appears to be at the forefront of the trend to criminalize the aircraft industry, there is every indication that the practice is gaining favor with prosecutors across the nation.  One widely publicized example of this trend is the federal criminal investigation into the crash of Alaska Airlines Flight 261 off the coast of California.  In addition, immediately following the crash of the Air France Concord, it was reported that the French authorities commenced a criminal probe to see whether any criminal laws had been violated. 


 II.            Statutes Utilized by the Government to Prosecute Aviation-Related Misconduct 


The following are common examples of statutes used by the government when investigating and prosecuting corporations and individuals operating within the aviation industry:


A.       The False Statement Statute 

Federal law prohibits the making of a materially false statement regarding a fact within the jurisdiction of a federal agency.[2]  Violation of the false statement statute may result in five year prison terms for each count charged, as well as substantial fines and restitution.[3] 

The false statement statute is one of the most flexible and effective weapons used by federal prosecutors, in large part because it has been interpreted so expansively by the courts.  It has wide-ranging application to the aviation industry, given the FAA regulatory scheme which measures compliance in large part by reference to the existence and accuracy of detailed documentation by those operating within its jurisdiction.  For example, the failure to perform required maintenance tasks or the improper performance thereof may give rise to a false statement prosecution based on inaccurate entries on maintenance work cards.  In effect, then, the false statement statute can be read to criminalize the practice commonly referred to as Apencil whipping@ or Apencil maintenance.@  This statute was the basis of several counts in the SabreTech indictment.   

In addition, prior to the recent crash of Flight 261 off the coast of California, Alaska Airlines was under investigation for falsifying paperwork.  If the SabreTech scenario is any indication, all of Alaska Airlines= activities, including all of its maintenance records, now will be under close scrutiny for even the hint of impropriety.

The Arrow Air indictment provides another example of the application of the false statement statute to the aviation industry.  In that case, Arrow had affixed AEquipment Transfer Records@ to parts which had been removed from two Boeing 727s that it had decided to Apart out@ rather than return to service.   The ETR=s contained an entry that read ACERTIFIED SERVICEABLE BY.@  The government=s theory was that the parts had not appropriately been inspected upon removal and that, therefore, the ETR=s Astatement@ that they were serviceable was knowingly and materially false in violation of Title 18 U.S.C. ' 1001. 

The false statement statute applies not only to Apencil whipping,@ but also to statements made in interviews with FAA, NTSB or any federal agent.  Until recently, many courts allowed an individual being interviewed to answer inquiries from a federal agent using a general denial known as an Aexculpatory no.@  Those courts held that such a bare bones denial, without more, was insufficient to constitute a false statement offense.   Recently, however, the United States Supreme Court abolished the Aexculpatory no@ doctrine, holding that falsely answering Ano@ to an investigator=s question is indeed a violation of 18 U.S.C. ' 1001.[4]  Therefore, if a NTSB or FAA investigator asked a mechanic, AHave you ever falsified maintenance records?@ and the mechanic answers Ano,@ and the government ultimately proves this answer to be false, the mechanic may have violated the false statements statute and committed another felony (in addition to the potential false maintenance record offense). 

In the course of abolishing the Aexculpatory no@ doctrine, the Supreme Court stressed that the interviewee only has two options: (1) tell the truth, or (2) exercise his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.  Given the increasing frequency of criminal prosecutions in the airline industry, the second option will often be the most prudent one, and is being utilized more and more frequently.  For instance, during the NTSB=s investigation into the causes of a pipeline rupture and fire which occurred in Bellingham, Washington in June 1999, potential witnesses have been invoking their Fifth Amendment rights.  On October 27, 1999, Jim Hall, Chairman of the NTSB, addressed these issues at a House committee meeting:


The NTSB wants the answers to all of these questions, and we need to know them as soon as feasible. But, my investigators have been stymied by the prospect of criminal prosecutions. . . . a number of our investigative activities have been suspended because most of the central players will not talk to us. And, prosecutors have asked that we not test the valve or the pipeline until their concerns regarding evidence preservation can be allayed. We are hopeful that steps can be taken to clear up the concerns of needed witnesses and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. But, for now, we simply do not know all we need to know about the pipeline=s operations and its level of safety5]


B.     Mail fraud and wire fraud 


Federal law prohibits participation in schemes to defraud using either the U.S. mail or interstate Awire@ communications, including telephones, radio, television and computers.[6]   Violation of the mail or wire fraud statutes may result in five year prison terms for each count charged, as well as substantial fines and restitution.

The government used the wire fraud statute when it indicted several supervisory and management level employees of Eastern Airlines in 1991.  The government=s theory was that Eastern led its passengers to believe that rigorous maintenance checks had been performed on its planes, when in fact, the defendants knew that such representations were false.  In furtherance of the alleged scheme to defraud, Eastern and several of its employees were alleged to have falsified aircraft maintenance log books and work cards and to have created false computer entries to create the appearance that regularly scheduled maintenance had been completed on the planes when, in fact, such maintenance had not been completed.  The indictment charged that, through these alleged frauds and false statements, the defendants had conspired to Aimpede, impair, obstruct and defeat@ the lawful government functions of the FAA to promote safety of flight and insure that aircraft are in a safe condition and are properly maintained.  The Eastern indictment was ultimately dismissed due to violations of the Federal Speedy Trial Act requiring criminal prosecutions to be brought in a timely fashion.


C.     Hazardous Materials Transportation Act


The Hazardous Materials Transportation Act (AHMTA@) renders it unlawful for a person to offer or accept a hazardous material for transportation in commerce without first complying with detailed regulations prescribing how the hazardous materials must be packed, labeled, described and transported.[7]  One may be convicted of hazardous materials violations based not only on wilful misconduct (the standard traditionally used to distinguish criminal from civil cases), but reckless conduct as well.  A criminal violation of the AHAZMAT@ regulations may result in prison terms of five years for each count charged, as well as hefty fines and restitution.  

Although SabreTech was acquitted of all charges of wilfully mishandling hazardous materials, it was sentenced to pay a $2 million fine and $9.1 million restitution for its convictions on the Areckless@ provisions of the HMTA. 


                                               D.  Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (ARCRA@)

RCRA governs the transportation, storage, treatment, and disposal of hazardous waste products, as well as the making of false statements in required documents, manifests and labels.[8]  RCRA imposes criminal penalties of up to $50,000 per day of violation and/or five years imprisonment for persons who Aknowingly@ commit certain violations of the Act=s requirements.  The statute also defines a crime termed Aknowing endangerment,@ the purpose of which is to provide more substantial felony penalties when the violator Aknows at the time that he thereby places another person in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury.@[9]   For Aknowing endangerment@ convictions, the prison term is raised to 15 years and corporate fines are raised to $1,000,000 for each count.  The knowing endangerment provision could have serious implications in the event of a particularly egregious RCRA violation deemed to be causally related to an aircraft accident.


E.    Destruction of Aircraft


Federal law prohibits the wilful destruction of an aircraft or aircraft facilities.  Title 18 U.S.C. ' 32 criminalizes, among other things, wilfully damaging an aircraft or aircraft facility, setting fire to an aircraft or aircraft facility, placing a destructive device or substance in an aircraft or aircraft facility or performing an act of violence against an aircraft or aircraft facility. 18 U.S.C. ' 32 carries with it a penalty of 20 years imprisonment as well as fines and restitution.  In the event that a death results from a violation of this statute, the penalty is increased to either life imprisonment or the death penalty.[10] 

In spite of the fact that this statute clearly was enacted to fight international terrorism, the United States chose to charge SabreTech with violation of this statute in a case where the facts hardly fit the charge.  In SabreTech=s case, mechanics signed inaccurate work cards indicating that safety caps had been installed on the removed oxygen generators when, in fact, safety caps had not been so installed.  However, the mechanics tagged these generators as unserviceable (which prevented them from being reinstalled on an aircraft), took what they believed to be equivalent safety measures to render the generators safe, and sent the generators to the ValuJet hold area of the facility for disposition.  Unbeknownst to the mechanics, the generators were later returned to the ValuJet ramp area by a shipping and receiving clerk who mistakenly believed that the generators were empty.  This hardly constitutes the willful placement of a destructive device on an airplane.  Fortunately, this prosecutorial overreaching was not embraced by the jury at trial, which acquitted the company of this charge.   However, the fact that the government actually charged this as a crime is a strong indication of how dramatically the enforcement landscape has changed.


F.     Homicide


Perhaps the clearest indication of the changing terrain is the State of Florida=s decision to charge SabreTech with homicide.  The announcement of the decision to charge SabreTech with manslaughter and felony murder was made at a joint press conference on the same day the federal government brought its charges against SabreTech.    Therefore, while the efficacy of such a charging decision remains to be seen, nothing prevents other states from leveling similar charges in the future if it believes the situation warrants.


II.                Corporate Criminal Liability for Acts of Employees


A.    Vicarious Corporate Criminal Liability 

A corporation may be held strictly liable for the unlawful conduct of its employees, provided that such conduct is within the scope of the employee=s authority and provides some benefit to the corporation.  Such vicarious liability can attach despite the fact that an employee=s actions are against explicit corporate policy.[11]  And, it can attach whether the bad actor is the corporation=s most menial  employee or its chief executive officer.  The public policy underlying this rule is that the imposition of criminal liability on a corporation for the acts of its employees will deter criminal activity in the name of the corporation by denying the corporation the benefits of the prohibited conduct.  And, based on the threat of vicarious criminal responsibility, the corporation=s management is presumed to have a greater incentive to insure full compliance with the law by its employees. 

Based on these legal principles, if a mechanic were shown to have Apencil whipped@ a job card, his corporate employer could be prosecuted along with the employee.  Similarly, if a shipping clerk were wilfully or recklessly to ship hazardous materials in violation of Hazmat rules and regulations, his corporate employer could share criminal responsibility.  It is therefore critical that management formulate and implement corporate compliance plans designed to insure to the greatest extent possible that all employees understand the applicable laws and regulations and act in accordance with them.  The stakes have never been higher.[12]


B.        The "Collective Knowledge Doctrine"


Under the Acollective knowledge doctrine,@ it is possible to hold a corporation criminally liable even though no single corporate employee is responsible for the wrongdoing.  The theory underlying this doctrine is that a corporation is deemed to know the totality of the knowledge of all of its employees.[13]   Therefore, consider a case in which  ABC Airline=s corporate counsel in Miami is aware of the complicated Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (ARCRA@) regulations involving the transportation of hazardous waste; meanwhile, an ABC Airline mechanic in New York removes a defective part from an aircraft B which he knows to constitute hazardous waste under RCRA regulations B and forwards it to the Airline=s shipping department for proper disposal; and thereafter, an ABC Airline shipping clerk, unaware of either the regulations or the fact that the part is considered to be hazardous waste, decides to mail the part back to the manufacturer for repair without complying with the hazardous waste transportation requirements.  Under the above scenario, each and every element of a criminal RCRA  violation has been satisfied by ABC=s employees, despite the fact that no individual employee intended to violate B or did violate B the law.  

It is important to note that the collective knowledge doctrine deals with a corporation=s knowledge only; not its specific intent.  Therefore, in specific intent crimes B as opposed to those offenses (like RCRA) requiring only general intent B the element of intent should not be aggregated from several employees to prove corporate intent.[14]    Nevertheless, prosecutors in both the federal and state cases against SabreTech have attempted to use the collective knowledge doctrine to prove specific intent against the corporation.  Moreover, the federal authorities went so far as to argue that it was not only the knowledge of SabreTech=s employees that could be aggregated to prove corporate intent, but also the information contained in corporate files and manuals, whether there is evidence that any employees were aware of  those materials or not.  Taking a similar approach, the Florida state authorities have publicly advanced the position that SabreTech is criminally liable for homicide, despite the fact that no individual SabreTech employees committed a crime.


III.               The Changing Landscape  C  Lessons Learned and Thoughts for the Future


As the breadth and focus of the government=s response to aircraft incidents and accidents changes, so, inevitably, will the response from the industry.  Already, as evidenced by the scene unfolding in Bellingham, Washington, the change is quite visible.  The pre-ValuJet paradigm of an aviation accident investigation included the NTSB=s rapid response to the disaster site, careful review and testing of the physical evidence, and thorough interviews of all those with information relevant to the cause of the crash.  The nearly universal response from those with information, whether they be corporate executives or hourly employees, was to cooperate with the NTSB investigators C  fully and without hesitation.  The goal was a quick determination of the cause of the crash and the implementation of procedures designed to prevent the occurrence of a similar accident in the future. 

In the post-ValuJet era, the NTSB=s investigation is frequently shadowed or even eclipsed by parallel criminal investigations conducted by the FBI, the FAA, the DOT=s Office of Inspector General, and/or the EPA=s Criminal Enforcement Division.  The prudent corporation with close ties to the accident will, in response, deploy its own rapid response team of attorneys and consultants to conduct an internal investigation into the facts and circumstances surrounding the crash.  Individuals will retain counsel who will advise their clients to think long and hard before giving testimony to the NTSB that may ultimately be used by government prosecutors seeking to build a criminal case against them.  Indeed, as is happening in the Bellingham case, most competent counsel experienced in criminal investigations will advise their clients to assert their fifth amendment privilege rather than risk self-incrimination or a possible violation of the false statement statute.  Only a grant of immunity from prosecution will persuade these witnesses to furnish the information sought.  But, neither the NTSB nor the FAA has the authority to grant immunity.  And, in the days immediately following an aviation accident, few U.S. Attorneys serious about pursuing criminal charges will be willing to grant such immunity. The NTSB=s legitimate mandate to act in the interest of the flying public may be thwarted.

One possible Afix@ for this seemingly inevitable dilemma is for Congress to enact legislation prohibiting the use in subsequent criminal prosecutions of truthful witness statements given to the NTSB and the FAA during post-accident investigations.  Such legislation would effectively require the cooperation of witnesses in accident investigations while protecting them from the legitimate fear of self-incrimination.  The NTSB and the FAA would continue to have the tools available to them to unravel oftentimes complex factual scenarios; and prosecutors would still be in a position to bring charges against those whom they believe bear criminal responsibility.     


V.      The Tragedy of September 11th and its Possible Aftermath


           Following the highjackings and murders of September 11th, 2001, the federal government declared war on terrorist organizations all over the world.  The President mobilized U.S. troops to fight not only the terrorists, but countries that harbor them.  At the same time, the Justice Department and the FBI are conducting one of the most extensive criminal investigations in U.S. history.  They are attempting to make criminal cases against those who aided, financed or otherwise supported the terrorists who commandeered and crashed those planes.  In order to thwart future attacks, the government has frozen assets in this country which are traceable to terrorist organizations.  The government is also taking a long hard look at aviation and airport security in an attempt to prevent such attacks in the future.  All of this added scrutiny may impact significantly how the criminal defense bar will deal with criminal or administrative investigators in the future.  

While it is clear that the main focus of the current investigations is on the terrorists themselves and those who assisted them, it is clear that there may have been lapses in security at the airports and elsewhere which helped to allow this activity to take place.  For example, if it were to appear that the firms which handled airport screening were grossly negligent in failing to find box cutters and knives, prosecutors could file homicide cases against those involved.  In addition, if it were to appear that airport catering and service firms improperly allowed ineligible individuals access to airport access badges, a prosecutor could craft a criminal case against those involved.[15]  So, even though those firms and their employees plainly had no part in the terrorists= plans, they still could be subject to criminal prosecution in order to impress upon the industry that such mistakes will not be tolerated.  And this scenario is not far fetched.  After all, this is how the federal government proceeded against financial institutions during the savings and loan crisis and again during the war on drugs.  In response to those issues of great national concern, the government targeted and prosecuted banks and their officers and directors  for the money laundering, currency violations and false statements which were deemed to have aided in the primary violations of the nation=s criminal law.  The government imposed detailed reporting requirements on financial institutions and aggressively prosecuted them for failure to comply with such regulations.  Financial institutions were forced to become the government=s partners in the crusade against crime.  In large measure, this approach worked and may serve as a model for the government=s response to aviation security issues.               

We now have a new issue of great national concern  B  terrorism.  In order to make examples and to make those in the aviation industry partners in the fight against terrorism, the government has at its disposal tools which existed long before September 11th.  For example, aviation prosecutions may be brought under existing false statements, fraud, hazardous materials and homicide statutes.  And while it may be politically incorrect to pursue anyone other than the terrorists themselves following the September 11th  tragedy, ancillary and unrelated prosecutions may very well take place following subsequent disasters B whether or not caused by terrorists.  And that poses thorny questions for the criminal defense bar and for those even tangentially involved in an aviation disaster.  For example, should  the airport screener who allowed a terrorist through security with a knife or gun speak with crash investigators following a hijacking or crash?   Should the supervisor who hired an airport worker bearing false identification and stowing a weapon on an aircraft submit to an interview?  Obviously, those individuals= statements may be critical to a hijacking investigation.  But if there is the slightest possibility that their statements will be used against them criminally, it may be unwise for them to say anything without immunity.   In this era of increased criminalization, these are the kinds of issues that must be considered following any aviation accident, especially one caused by criminal misconduct.  


VI.            Conclusion

The issue of whether criminal prosecution is appropriate in the wake of aviation accidents is one of the most hotly debated transportation related topics of the day.  Indeed, the U. S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Aviation, held hearings on this subject in July of last year.  At that hearing, several segments of the aviation industry warned that passenger safety could be compromised if the trend toward criminalization is continued.  

What does all this mean to firms and individuals in the aviation industry?  In today=s climate, a corporation and its employees must be aware of the specter of criminal prosecution in addition to the more traditional civil and administrative consequences of a safety related aviation incident.   Now, more than ever, it is essential that corporations assure compliance by all of its employees with all FAA and other government rules and regulations.  And, in the event of a safety related incident, it is important that an immediate internal investigation take place to determine whether, and to what degree, the corporation may be exposed to criminal liability and to implement appropriate safeguards to attempt to mitigate such liability.                                                                                                                        


[1]            Other examples from the Southern District of Florida include: the conviction of a Miami based shipping company, Alpa International, Inc.,  and its president, relating to the delivery of hazardous materials (printer toner fluid) to an air carrier;  a guilty plea entered by Air-Pro, Inc., an aircraft hose assembly manufacturer and distributor, for making false representations relating to the sale of non-conforming aircraft parts; the filing of charges against an aircraft parts repair station, Air Electronic Corporation, charging AEC with making false certifications of airworthiness placed on aircraft parts; the filing of charges against a contract security company, Aviation Safeguards of Florida, Inc., with falsely certifying that background employment verifications had been done, in violation of 18 U.S.C. ' 1001.

[2]            Title 18 U.S.C. ' 1001.

[3]             See 18 U.S.C. ' 3571(b)(3) and (c)(3), which set the fines for federal felony offenses (other than for certain specified offenses not applicable here) at not more than $250,000 for individuals, and $500,000 for organizations, respectively.

[4]            Brogan v. United States, 522 U.S. 398, 118 S. Ct. 805, 808, 139 L.Ed.2d 830 (1998).

[5]            Testimony of Jim Hall, Chairman, National Transportation Safety Board, before the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, Hazardous Materials, and Pipeline Transportation, House of Representatives, Regarding the June 10, 1999, Pipeline Rupture and Fire in Bellingham, Washington, October 27, 1999.

[6]            See 18 U.S.C. ' 1341 (mail fraud) and 18 U.S.C. ' 1343 (wire fraud).

[7]            49 U.S.C. ' 5101 et seq. (formerly codified at 49 U.S.C. app. ' 1801 et seq.).

[8]            42 U.S.C. ' 6928(d).

[9]            42 U.S.C. '6928(e).

[10]            18 U.S.C. ' 34.

[11]  United States v. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp., 882 F.2d 656, 660 (2d Cir. 1989), cert. denied, 493 U.S. 1021 (1990); United States v. Basic Construction Co., 711 F.2d 570 (4th Cir.), cert. denied, 464 U.S. 956 (1983).

[12]  An example of the principle of strict corporate liability for actions of a rogue employee may be seen in the conviction of Aviation Safeguards of Florida, a firm which provides security personnel at Miami International Airport.  The U.S. Attorney=s Office in Miami returned an indictment alleging that the company=s former general manager allowed at least 22 employees into secure areas of the airport without the required background checks and then lied about it to authorities.  Aviation Safeguards was prosecuted despite the fact that there was no evidence that company executives knew of or condoned its former employee=s activities.  On March 27, 2000, Aviation Safeguards pled guilty to the charges and has agreed to pay a fine of $110,000.

[13]  The leading case in this area is United States v. Bank of New England, 821 F.2d 844 (1st Cir.), cert. denied, 484 U.S. 943 (1987).                                     

[14]   See  Saba v. Compagnie Nationale Air France, 78 F.3d 664, 670 n.6 (D.C. Cir. 1996) ; First Equity Corp. of Florida v. Standard & Poor's Corp., 690 F. Supp. 256, 259-60 (S.D.N.Y. 1988); United States v. LBS B New York, Inc., 757 F. Supp. 496, 501 n.7 (E.D. Pa. 1990).

[15]  In fact, one week after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, prosecutors in the Southern District of Florida filed criminal charges against 12 airport workers (including nine undocumented immigrants) for offering false identification cards and making false statements in order to obtain airport security badges needed to access the runways, cargo bays, and baggage clearance areas.