Skip to comments.Former Federal Aviation Administration employee sentenced for severing air traffic communications
Posted on 02/09/2021 12:40:34 AM PST by ransomnote
HONOLULU, Hawaii – A federal judge today sentenced Joelyn DeCosta, 48, of Honolulu, Hawaii, to two years of probation and a $5000 fine for willfully and maliciously interfering with the working and use of a communication system operated and controlled by the United States, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1362.
According to documents and information presented in court, DeCosta was an Airway Transportation Systems Specialist for the Federal Aviation Administration, and had worked for the F.A.A. for approximately 26 years. On January 4, 2019, she willfully and maliciously severed communications between Air Traffic Control in Honolulu and aircraft flying in U.S. airspace above and around Honolulu, in an area known as Sector 4, which covers flights between Oahu and Maui, Lanai, Moloka’i, Kaho’olawe, and the Big Island. The main and standby communication lines between Hawaii Air Traffic Control and pilots of approximately six planes during one incident and approximately four planes during a second incident were affected by the outages. In total, pilots could not hear instructions from Air Traffic Control for a total of two minutes, as a result of the outages caused by the defendant.
The defendant had previously pled guilty pursuant to a plea agreement. As part of her plea agreement, she resigned from the F.A.A. before sentencing. As a result, she lost her retirement benefits, which were estimated to have been worth in excess of $500,000.
One of the pilots of an aircraft affected by the outage spoke as a victim at the sentencing. He emphasized the danger to himself and the 40 passengers onboard his aircraft posed by the outage.
“The United States Attorney’s Office takes any threat to the safety of the air travelling public very seriously, and will vigorously enforce federal criminal laws against any federal employee who abuses their position and, in doing so, puts air travelers in harm’s way,” said U.S. Attorney Kenji M. Price.
“Employees of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are entrusted with safely overseeing the busiest and most complex air transportation system in the world. Key to that trust is maintaining an uncompromising level of integrity in their work, which many FAA personnel do,” said Cissy Tubbs, Special Agent-in-Charge, Western Region, Department of Transportation, Office of Inspector General - Investigations. “Today’s sentencing demonstrates our commitment to working with our law enforcement partners and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to detect and prevent those willing to compromise the safety of the National Airspace System and the traveling public.”
The case was investigated by the Department of Transportation, Office of Inspector General, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Marc A. Wallenstein.
OK. Why did she do it? Simple question that needs to be answered.
Great question, also
what was going on with investigations into the first outage that they did not catch her?
Did it take a second outage to work out she was “Severing” the comms.
Who or what was happening in and around that area twice.
And she lost 500k retirement, hmms. Doubtful unless the union tossed her out.
And she only really gets a 5k fine and 2 years probation ???
Again doubtful or in fact that was the Real outcome of this and the 500k is just there to make ppl feel good that she lost big, smells fishy to me.
“takes any threat to the safety of the air travelling public very seriously”
Must be very serious probation.
PMS ??? (Pack My Suitcase)
Maybe she thought the zer0 & wookie were going someplace...
I think she got off light.
Exactly. I wonder why.
Another slap on the wrist for a DEMOCRAT.
She probably had at least that munch in her TSP account as well. She probably only lost FERS.
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