Military

Former US Army Depot Bosses Arrested For Faking UH-60 Rotor Blade Records

By Dan Parsons | August 28, 2018
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A U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crew assigned to Task Force Griffin, 16th Combat Aviation Brigade, 7th Infantry Division prepares to land in Kunduz, Afghanistan, May 31, 2017. The Griffins are working hard to support U.S. Forces Afghanistan as part of Operation Freedom's Sentinel and Resolute Support Mission.

A U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk crew prepares to land.

Two former supervisors at the Corpus Christi Army Depot in Texas have been arrested for passing off non-conforming UH-60 Black Hawk rotor blades as meeting U.S. Army specifications, according to a statement from the U.S. Justice Department.

Albert Flores, 57, and Samuel Escareno, 54, made their initial appearance before a magistrate for the U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of Texas and were taken into custody, according to the statement. Both men are scheduled for a detention hearing Aug. 30.

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A federal grand jury indicted Flores and Escareno, both former supervisors at the Corpus Christi Army Depot, on one count each of conspiracy and falsifying records related to aircraft parts. 

CCAD is the Army’s primary rotorcraft maintenance and repair facility. Its employees also work on work on all Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force rotorcraft.

The depot partners with several major rotorcraft suppliers including General Electric Aircraft Engines, Boeing, Sikorsky and Honeywell to provide maintenance, overhaul, retrofit, upgrade and other services on site. According to the depot’s website, it has completed work on 1,098 aircraft; 21,555 engines and 411,398 helicopter components since 2003 for the UH-60 Black Hawk, CH-47 Chinook, AH-64 Apache, OH-58 Kiowa and the Air Force HH-60 Pave Hawk.

The indictment alleges Flores and Escareno commanded other CCAD employees to make false entries and certifications on UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter main rotor blade dynamic balance data sheets in order to pass off nonconforming rotor blades as meeting Army specifications when they actually did not.

The Army’s Criminal Investigation Division — Major Procurement Fraud Unit conducted the investigation. The Robstown Police Department assisted in the arrest. Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert D. Thorpe Jr. is prosecuting the case.

If convicted, the men face a sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000. 

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