SEATTLE — A Boeing test pilot has been indicted on fraud charges related to his work in evaluating the 737 MAX jetliner, the same model that was involved in two deadly crashes.
Prosecutors said Mark Forkner was indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury and accused of deceiving safety regulators who were evaluating the plane.
The indictment accuses Forkner of giving false and incomplete information to the Federal Aviation Administration about a flight-control system on the plane. The control system was implicated in the crashes. It pushed the noses of the planes down, and pilots were unable to regain control.
Forkner is expected to make his first appearance in court on Friday in Fort Worth, Texas.
When asked for comment, a company spokesperson for Boeing said, "Thanks for reaching out. We don’t have anything to add."
“The indictment today of Boeing’s former chief pilot for deceiving federal authorities about the 737 MAX is a corporate whitewash,” said Robert A. Clifford, founder and senior partner of Clifford Law Offices in Chicago and Lead Counsel in the consolidated litigation against Boeing in the crash of a 737 MAX in Ethiopia in 2019. “The tragic loss of 157 lives could have been prevented had Mark Forkner spoken up but he certainly didn’t act alone.”
“This inexcusable type of corporate greed goes far beyond the chief pilot at the company that haphazardly made these aircraft in an effort to increase profits,” said Clifford.