Feds to file 2nd superseding indictment in helicopter fraud

HANSEN: The office and warehouse of Hansen Helicopters Inc., a Guam-based helicopter transport company, were searched in 2016 as part of a criminal case. Some of the company's officials were indicted in 2018. Post file photo

The defendants in a federal fraud case involving Hansen Helicopters Inc. could face additional charges ahead of their trial in the District Court of Guam.

Defendants John Walker, Marvin Reed, Kenneth Crowe, Phillip Kapp and Randall Rogers of Hansen Helicopters appeared before Magistrate Judge Michael Bordallo during a virtual status hearing on Thursday.

It was said in court that the federal government is working on another superseding indictment that will be presented before a grand jury.

"We do believe at that point in time we will have a better picture of where we are at in this case," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Leon Guerrero.

Details as to what additional charges the defendants may face have not yet been made public.

Leon Guerrero asked the court for one month to allow them more time to work on the new indictment.

Defense attorney David Lujan, who represents Crowe, objected to the one-month delay, and asked the court that they set trial for February 2021.

The court will issue an order on a trial date at a later time.

COVID concerns

Multiple attorneys expressed concern with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but Judge Bordallo said federal trials have yet to recommence since the start of the pandemic.

The court will also review several pending motions to sever, which means the defendants could go to trial separately.

The defendants were initially charged in May 2018 with wire fraud, money laundering, honest services fraud, conspiracy to defraud the National Transportation Safety Board, conspiracy to defraud the Federal Aviation Administration, making a false statement and destruction, alteration or falsification of records.

A superseding indictment adding more charges against the group was filed in December 2019, Post files state.

In September 2020, Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood dismissed multiple counts that charged the defendants with employing a mechanic without a mechanic's certificate, as the defense argued the charge was "duplicitous."

Helicopter services

Hansen operated aerial tours and tuna-spotting services for international fishing operations, and provided charter services for federal agencies to locations in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands otherwise inaccessible by air.

The men are accused of obtaining aircraft that had been deregistered because they were destroyed, scrapped or otherwise deemed not airworthy, and then falsifying documents and records submitted to government agencies to obtain airworthiness certificates for those same aircraft.

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