A former Boeing chief technical pilot accused of defrauding federal regulators that evaluated the company’s 737 MAX jet was charged with fraud, not guilty, on Friday, the US Attorney’s Office in North Texas said. Requested and released.
Mark Forkner, 49, was indicted by a grand jury in Texas on six counts of defrauding Boeing’s US-based airline customers to obtain tens of millions of dollars for the aircraft maker.
According to the indictment, Forkner provided “materially incorrect, inaccurate, and incomplete information” about a new part of the flight controls for the Boeing 737 MAX to the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Aircraft Evaluation Group called the Maneuver Characteristic Enhancement System. is called. MCAS).
MCAS, a software feature designed to automatically push the nose of an airplane down in certain situations, was tied to two fatal crashes of the 737 MAX over a five-month period, which killed 346 people. The FAA suspended the aircraft for 19 months, an action that was withdrawn in November 2020.
A lawyer for Forkner said he should not have been charged and was not responsible for the two fatal Boeing accidents.
Lawyer David Gerger said in a statement, “If the government takes this matter to trial, the truth will show that Mark did not cause this tragedy, he did not lie, and should not be charged.” ”
Gerger asked people working at Boeing, the FAA or the airline to “help the truth come out. Please contact us, get us a message, don’t be intimidated.”
Boeing and the FAA declined to comment.
In January, Boeing agreed to pay more than $2.5 billion in fines and compensation after reaching a deferred prosecution agreement with the US Department of Justice over the Max accidents that cost Boeing more than $20 billion.