The credibility of pilots took another hit when news media revealed that 46 California pilots had been charged with lying to get or keep their certificates.
Newspapers and television stations across the nation told how the pilots – 14 of them active, seven of them holding commercial tickets – either hid medical conditions that would disqualify them from flying or filed false reports with the Social Security Administration to obtain disability benefits.
Some of the pilots were claiming benefits for very serious mental or physical disorders, the reports said. They were found out when the FAA cross-referenced pilot Social Security numbers with other databases.
Regardless of whether fraud was committed against the FAA or the Social Security Administration, lying to federal agencies carries penalties of up to five years in prison and $250,000 in fines.