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Pilot Guilty of Using Aliases, Falsified Documents

Brian J Smith Aug. 4, 2014

Many of us use a nickname from time to time, but one man took extensive measures to conceal his true identity. According to federal prosecutors, John Dial, from Skaneateles, New York, has been using false credentials and aliases to fly air ambulances and news helicopters in northern California for years. Authorities indicate that Dial relied on a fake name and forged documents between 2009 and 2012, which allowed him to serve as a news pilot in Sacramento and San Francisco and to work for an air ambulance service in Susanville during that same period of time.

Dial’s efforts to conceal his identity stem from the fact that he has an extended criminal record, including a conviction for giving false information to the FAA in 1994 as well as various theft and forgery convictions. Prosecutors note that Dial, a former military pilot, has relied on at least 24 fake names in the past. In addition, he used false Social Security numbers and other people’s birthdays to assume their identities.

As per his plea agreement, Dial worked as a TV news helicopter pilot between December 2009 and August 2010 around San Francisco. In June 2011, Dial provided false documents and made false statements, a move that kept his true identity hidden from the FAA while he worked as part of the California air ambulance service.

This most recent stint isn’t the first time Dial has been convicted of providing false statements to the FAA regarding his medical certificate and student pilot certificate. Dial operated a helicopter over 60 times without holding a valid pilot certificate between July and November 2011.

The pattern continued when Dial was hired by a TV station to work a news helicopter in Sacramento in March 2012. During this time, Dial submitted fake FAA certificates under his actual name and also flew the helicopter twice for the TV station without having a valid pilot certificate.

Dial’s efforts to conceal his identity were discovered during a traffic stop in Idaho in 2012, when he provided a false Vermont driver’s license. Although he was subsequently cited for driving without a license and ordered not to drive his vehicle, Dial was seen driving away and was once again stopped by police. Eventually, Dial admitted that his real name was John Dial and that he secured the Vermont driver’s license approximately 12 years ago by providing false information.

If you find yourself in tight spot, you have options. Relying on aliases and falsified documents shouldn’t be one of them. Luckily, having a good legal defense team on your side can help. If you’re in a legal bind, you can count on the Las Vegas defense attorneys of the Brian J. Smith law firm to help you out.