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Before yesterdayOffice of Inspector General

Audit Initiated of FAA’s Oversight of Counter-Unmanned Aircraft Systems

By ada.valaitis
Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), often referred to as drones, serve diverse sectors of the economy such as entertainment and recreation, agriculture, real-estate, and local and Federal government. However, their unauthorized use can pose safety and security threats. As such, private industry has developed technologies, referred to as counter-UAS, to detect, monitor, and track UAS. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is responsible for coordinating with other Federal agencies to ensure that UAS technology does not adversely affect aviation safety. Further, the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 requires FAA to develop a plan for certifying and authorizing counter-UAS systems. The Ranking Members of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and its Subcommittee on Aviation requested that we assess FAA’s coordination with other agencies pertaining to counter-UAS. Accordingly, our audit objectives will be to assess (1) FAA’s process for coordinating with other Federal agencies to implement and issue guidance on the use of counter-UAS technologies and (2) strategies undertaken by FAA to ensure that the use of counter-UAS technologies by other agencies do not adversely affect aviation and aerospace safety.
Requested By: 
Requested by the Ranking Members of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and its Subcommittee on Aviation
Project ID: 
20A3007A000
Date: 
Wednesday, October 14, 2020
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  • October 14th 2020 at 20:30

Airline Passenger Pleads Guilty To Interfering With Flight Attendant

By ada.valaitis
On October 5, 2020, in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, Matthew Dingley pleaded guilty to one count of interfering with flight crewmembers and attendants. The guilty plea relates to a January 9, 2020, incident in which Dingley—a passenger on a United Airlines flight from Dulles International Airport to Newark Liberty International Airport—interfered with a flight attendant’s ability to perform her duties by physically striking and intimidating her.
 
DOT-OIG is conducting the investigation with assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department.

 

 

Date: 
Monday, October 5, 2020
No
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  • October 14th 2020 at 16:06

South Florida Moving Company and Owner Assessed $275,000 for Deceptive Practices

By ada.valaitis
On September 25, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida issued a final judgement as to liability and order of stipulated permanent injunction against Itai Carmel and his company, Ocean Moving & Storage Corp (Ocean Moving). The judgment ordered Carmel and Ocean Moving to pay $175,000 in civil penalties and restitution, as well as $100,000 in legal fees and costs. The ruling responds to civil complaints the Florida Attorney General’s Office filed in December 2018 against seven individuals and their respective companies for deceptive moving practices. Nineteen household goods companies or their affiliated entities were involved in the case.
 
The complaints alleged that the moving companies deliberately loaded people’s belongings onto trucks, then raised prices and forced customers to pay before releasing the items. Located in Florida’s Broward and Dade Counties, the companies allegedly used false or deceptive advertising to persuade consumers to purchase moving services and claimed highly trained professional or expert movers would do the work. However, untrained laborers regularly performed the moves, often causing damage to, destroying, or stealing the customers’ property. Many customers allegedly received low-price, purportedly binding estimates from the companies.
 
DOT-OIG and the Consumer Protection Division of the Florida Attorney General’s Office conducted the investigation that led to the Federal civil filing.
Date: 
Friday, September 25, 2020
No
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  • October 14th 2020 at 15:04

New Jersey Man Ordered to Pay Restitution for Household Goods Moving Fraud

By Eric.Weems
On September 8, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey order Rami Zubidat to pay restitution in the amount of $75,193.
 
The investigation revealed that Zubidat and his co-conspirators controlled and operated a number of New Jersey-based moving companies. Although the companies were established as separate legal entities, they shared bank accounts, post office boxes, employees, and an office space. Customers were quoted “low ball” price estimates for moving household goods. Then—once the goods were loaded on the trucks—the prices were raised, putting the customers in vulnerable positions. Between 2013 and 2015, these companies handled hundreds of moves, increasing their final prices above the amount allowed by Federal regulations.
 
DOT-OIG conducted this investigation with Homeland Security Investigations and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
Date: 
Tuesday, September 8, 2020
No
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  • October 8th 2020 at 18:39

Rec Maint Rpt (187)_2020.10.01-2020.10.08_CSV_0.csv

By nathan.richmond
Import Feed: 
recommendations_importer
Import Date: 
Thursday, October 8, 2020 - 10:57
  • October 8th 2020 at 15:57

IT2021001-13

By admin

Working with the Operating Administrations, require that all geospatial information systems maintain authorization status in accordance with departmental cybersecurity policies.

Recommendation number: 
13
Top Recommendation: 
No
Sensitive: 
Closed: 
Open
Project ID: 
DOT Is Making Progress Toward Fulfilling the Requirements of the Geospatial Data Act of 2018
DOT Unique ID: 
5170
Opened Date: 
Friday, October 2, 2020
  • October 8th 2020 at 15:49

IT2021001-12

By admin

Establish, document and implement a process for ongoing monitoring of its strategy for advancing geospatial information and related geospatial data and activities appropriate to its mission in accordance with requirements of the Federal Internal Control Standards.

Recommendation number: 
12
Top Recommendation: 
No
Sensitive: 
Closed: 
Open
Project ID: 
DOT Is Making Progress Toward Fulfilling the Requirements of the Geospatial Data Act of 2018
DOT Unique ID: 
5169
Opened Date: 
Friday, October 2, 2020
  • October 8th 2020 at 15:49

IT2021001-11

By admin

Develop and maintain a process to verify that all geospatial metadata meets quality standards that strengthen the internal control process to improve the quality of metadata reported on DOT's enterprise data inventory.

Recommendation number: 
11
Top Recommendation: 
No
Sensitive: 
Closed: 
Open
Project ID: 
DOT Is Making Progress Toward Fulfilling the Requirements of the Geospatial Data Act of 2018
DOT Unique ID: 
5168
Opened Date: 
Friday, October 2, 2020
  • October 8th 2020 at 15:49

IT2021001-10

By admin

Develop and implement a procedure that documents and tracks all responsibilities outlined in the Geospatial Policy on Reducing Duplication are implemented to include Department of Transportation and Operating Administrations' implementation of geospatial clearinghouse searches to validate no duplication of funds.

Recommendation number: 
10
Top Recommendation: 
No
Sensitive: 
Closed: 
Open
Project ID: 
DOT Is Making Progress Toward Fulfilling the Requirements of the Geospatial Data Act of 2018
DOT Unique ID: 
5167
Opened Date: 
Friday, October 2, 2020
  • October 8th 2020 at 15:49

IT2021001-1

By admin

Update the National Geospatial Data Asset (NGDA) Theme plan with the processes to identify, assess, and develop NGDA standards based on the Act.

Recommendation number: 
1
Top Recommendation: 
No
Sensitive: 
Closed: 
Open
Project ID: 
DOT Is Making Progress Toward Fulfilling the Requirements of the Geospatial Data Act of 2018
DOT Unique ID: 
5182
Opened Date: 
Friday, October 2, 2020
  • October 8th 2020 at 15:49

Quality Control Review on a Single Audit of the City of Charlotte, Charlotte, NC Self-Initiated

By ada.valaitis
What We Looked At
We performed a quality control review (QCR) on the single audit that Cherry Bekaert, LLP performed for the City of Charlotte’s (City) fiscal year that ended June 30, 2018. During this period, the City expended approximately $100 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) grant programs. Cherry Bekaert determined that DOT’s major programs were the Federal Transit Cluster, the Airport Improvement Program, and the Highway Planning and Construction Cluster.
 
Our QCR objectives were to determine (1) whether the audit work complied with the Single Audit Act of 1984, as amended, and the Office of Management and Budget’s Uniform Guidance, and the extent to which we could rely on the auditors’ work on DOT’s major programs; and (2) whether the City’s reporting package complied with the reporting requirements of the Uniform Guidance.
 
What We Found
Cherry Bekaert’s audit work complied with the requirements of the Single Audit Act, the Uniform Guidance, and DOT’s major programs. We found nothing to indicate that Cherry Bekaert’s opinion on each of DOT’s major programs were inappropriate or unreliable. However, we identified deficiencies in Cherry Bekaert’s audit work that should be corrected in future audits. In addition, we identified a deficiency in each of the City’s initial and revised reporting packages that required correction and resubmission.
Requested By: 
Self-Initiated
Project ID: 
QC2020048
Date: 
Wednesday, September 23, 2020
No
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  • September 25th 2020 at 15:15

Report on the Quality Control Review of the Independent Service Auditor’s Report on DOT’s Enterprise Services Center

By Eric.Weems
What We Looked At
This report presents the results of our quality control review (QCR) of an audit of the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Enterprise Services Center (ESC) controls. ESC provides financial management services to DOT and other agencies, and operates under the direction of DOT’s Chief Financial Officer. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requires ESC, as a management services provider, to either provide its user organizations with independent audit reports on the design and effectiveness of its internal controls, or allow user auditors to perform tests of its controls.
 
We contracted with KPMG LLP to conduct this audit subject to our oversight. The objectives of the review were to determine whether (1) management’s descriptions of ESC’s systems are fairly presented, (2) ESC’s controls are suitably designed, and (3) ESC’s controls are operating effectively throughout the period of October 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020. KPMG will do additional testing and issue a follow-up letter to our office for the period July 1, 2020, through September 30, 2020. We performed a QCR on KPMG’s report and related documentation.
 
What We Found
Our QCR disclosed no instances in which KPMG did not comply, in all material respects, with generally accepted Government auditing standards.
 
Recommendations
DOT concurs with KPMG’s three recommendations.
 
The quality control review and attachments have been marked as For Official Use Only to protect sensitive information exempt from public disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552. To receive a copy of the report, please contact our Freedom of Information Act Office.
Requested By: 
Required by the Office of Management and Budget’s Bulletin No. 19-03, Auditing Requirements for Financial Statements
Project ID: 
QC2020046
Date: 
Tuesday, September 22, 2020
No
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  • September 24th 2020 at 16:06

Quality Control Review on a Single Audit of the City of Fayetteville, Fayetteville, NC

By Eric.Weems
What We Looked At
We performed a quality control review (QCR) on the single audit that RSM US LLP performed for the City of Fayetteville’s (City) fiscal year that ended June 30, 2018. During this period, the City expended approximately $6.8 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) grant programs. RSM determined that DOT’s major programs were the Airport Improvement Program and the Federal Transit Cluster.
 
Our QCR objectives were to determine (1) whether the audit work complied with the Single Audit Act of 1984, as amended, and the Office of Management and Budget’s Uniform Guidance, and the extent to which we could rely on the auditors’ work on DOT’s major programs, and (2) whether the City’s reporting package complied with the reporting requirements of the Uniform Guidance.
 
What We Found
RSM’s audit work complied with the requirements of the Single Audit Act, the Uniform Guidance, and DOT’s major programs. We found nothing to indicate that RSM’s opinion on each of DOT’s major programs was inappropriate or unreliable. However, we identified deficiencies in the City’s reporting package that required correction and resubmission.
Requested By: 
Self-Initiated
Project ID: 
QC2020047
Date: 
Tuesday, September 22, 2020
No
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No
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  • September 24th 2020 at 15:00

Rec Maint Rpt (185)_2020.09.17-2020.09.24_CSV.csv

By ada.valaitis
Author: 
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Import Date: 
Thursday, September 24, 2020 - 08:46
  • September 24th 2020 at 13:46

Owner of Tennessee Aircraft Repair Station Sentenced for Attempted Aircraft Parts Fraud

By ada.valaitis
On September 15, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee sentenced Richard Paul Harper, a citizen of the United Kingdom, to time served amounting to nearly 8 months in prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release and a $100 special assessment. In addition, he must surrender to an immigration official for deportation. Harper is the former owner and operator of Apple International, Inc., an aircraft repair station based in Bristol, Tennessee, and the United Kingdom.
 
On June 16, 2020, Harper admitted in court that he obtained a helicopter with significant damage to its underbelly. Rather than make the necessary and costly repairs, a large portion of the helicopter’s fuselage was switched with the fuselage of another helicopter that had crashed in New Jersey, and the original data plates were affixed to the fuselage of the combination helicopter. The data plate switch concealed the true history of the helicopters’ damage and repairs. With intent to defraud, Harper actively marketed and tried to sell the resulting helicopter with switched data plates to an aircraft broker and other unsuspecting purchasers.
 
DOT-OIG led this joint investigation with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security–Homeland Security Investigations, with substantial assistance from FAA.

 

 

Date: 
Tuesday, September 15, 2020
No
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  • September 23rd 2020 at 20:24

$4.25 Million Settlement With Indiana Construction Company Resolves Claims of Alleged Product Substitution

By ada.valaitis
On September 10, 2020, the U.S. Department of Justice entered into a settlement agreement with Dave O’Mara Contractor, Inc. (DOCI), Padgett Trucking, Inc., Dave O’Mara Paving, Inc., David J. O’Mara, Nancy A. O’Mara, Amy L. Boswell, Robert L. O’Mara, and Daniel J. O’Mara (collectively, “the Parties”). The Parties agreed to pay a total of $4,252,736, over a period of 4 years, in restitution to the United States. The United States contended that from February 6, 2008, to December 10, 2014, DOCI caused the submission of false and fraudulent claims to the Federal Highway Administration connected to the paving of roads funded with Federal and State money. DOCI represented that its hot mix asphalt met Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) requirements. However, the Government alleged that DOCI frequently failed to meet the minimum requirements associated with the content of asphalt binder used in the mix. This settlement agreement was neither an admission of liability by DOCI and the other Parties nor a concession by the United States that its claims were not well founded.
 
DOT-OIG conducted this investigation with the Civil Division of the Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana, with significant assistance from INDOT.
Date: 
Thursday, September 10, 2020
No
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No
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  • September 23rd 2020 at 18:17

Alaska Pilot Sentenced to Prison for Making False Statements to NTSB

By ada.valaitis
On September 9, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska sentenced Forest Kirst to 1 year and 1 day in prison, 3 years’ supervised release, a $5,000 fine, and a $200 special assessment. During his term of supervised release, he will not be permitted to pilot a commercial aircraft or work as an aircraft mechanic without the prior approval of the U.S. Probation Office. In November 2019, the court convicted Kirst of obstruction of proceedings before Federal agencies during a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation into an August 14, 2014, aircraft crash. Kirst had piloted the aircraft involved in the crash, which injured the three Canadian tourists onboard; one of them later succumbed to his injuries.
 
DOT-OIG conducted this investigation with substantial assistance from FAA and NTSB.
Date: 
Wednesday, September 9, 2020
Yes
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No
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  • September 23rd 2020 at 14:51

Georgia Concrete Company and Individuals Indicted In Scheme to Fix Prices and Rig Bids in Violation of Antitrust Laws

By ada.valaitis
On September 2, 2020, Evans Concrete, LLC, along with James Pedrick, Gregory Melton, John “David” Melton, and Timothy “Bo” Strickland, were indicted by a grand jury in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia for their roles in a long-running conspiracy to fix prices, rig bids, and allocate markets for ready-mix concrete.
 
The indictment alleges that from as early as 2010 until approximately July 2016, the defendants submitted rigged bids and accepted payments for ready-mix concrete that was sold through contracts for various projects, including federally funded road projects. To carry out the conspiracy, one of the named individuals allegedly served as a conduit, exchanging price-increase letters and other competitive information between the defendants and other co-conspirators. According to the indictment, their aim was to control the marketplace by coordinating price increases, rigging bids, and allocating jobs.
 
DOT-OIG is conducting this investigation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Postal Service OIG, with substantial assistance from the Georgia Department of Transportation.
 
Note: Indictments, informations, and criminal complaints are only accusations by the Government. All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Date: 
Wednesday, September 2, 2020
No
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  • September 22nd 2020 at 19:00

California Man Indicted for Fraud and Identity Theft Related to a Drone Show

By ada.valaitis
On September 2, 2020, David J. Oneal was indicted by a grand jury in the Western District of Texas for wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.
 
According to the indictment, Oneal, owner of Wildly Creative Marketing, agreed to perform a drone show at SeaWorld, San Antonio, Texas. He allegedly provided SeaWorld with falsified and/or fraudulently used documents, including certificates of registration for small Unmanned Aircraft Systems he proposed to use, pictures of certificates belonging to two pilots he claimed to have employed, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) waiver required to conduct the show. Upon receipt of the documents, SeaWorld sent Oneal two separate payments, which were deposited into a bank account that he controlled, but he did not appear or perform the drone show.
 
DOT-OIG is conducting this investigation with the U.S. Secret Service.
 
Note: Indictments, informations, and criminal complaints are only accusations by the Government. All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Date: 
Wednesday, September 2, 2020
No
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No
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  • September 22nd 2020 at 17:24

FAA’s Process for Updating Its Aircraft Evacuation Standards Lacks Data Collection and Analysis on Current Evacuation Risks

By Eric.Weems

What We Looked At
Effective evacuations of aircraft during emergencies can help save lives. Two aircraft accidents involving evacuations—one in September 2015 involving a British Airways aircraft and another in October 2016 involving an American Airlines aircraft—resulted in no fatalities, and highlighted the importance of effective aircraft evacuation standards. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations require that aircraft manufacturers demonstrate that all passengers and crew can evacuate an aircraft within 90 seconds by conducting live demonstrations of simulated evacuations or through a combination of analyses and testing. Our audit objective was to assess FAA’s process for developing and updating aircraft emergency evacuation standards, including how changes in passenger behavior, passenger demographics, and seating capacity affect the standards.

What We Found
FAA’s process for updating its evacuation standards lacks data collection and analysis on current risks. FAA largely updates evacuation standards only after accidents and it conducted its last update based on an accident in 1991. FAA also has not conducted sufficient research on passenger behaviors—such as evacuations with carry-on bags and the presence of emotional support animals—and seat dimensions to show how they affect evacuation standards. Furthermore, FAA does not collect comprehensive evacuation data to identify needs for regulation updates, and allows manufacturers to use decade-old data in evacuation analyses. FAA’s Safety Management System requires FAA programs to collect and analyze comprehensive data using systematic procedures and policies for the management of safety risk. However, FAA has not established a systematic process to obtain and evaluate data from accidents and demonstrations. As a result, FAA is inhibiting its ability to identify current evacuation risks and updates to its aircraft emergency evacuation standards.

Recommendations
We made two recommendations to help FAA improve its data collection and analysis for developing and updating aircraft emergency evacuation standards. FAA concurred with both recommendations.

 

Requested By: 
Requested by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and Its Subcommittee on Aviation
Project ID: 
AV2020045
Date: 
Wednesday, September 16, 2020
Yes
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No
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  • September 18th 2020 at 15:50
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