Tulsa businessman Bill stokely guilty of helicopter tampering
BY DAVID HARPER World Staff Writer
Thursday, February 21, 2013
2/21/13 at 5:12 AM
A Tulsa businessman has pleaded guilty in federal court in Arizona to altering the tail number on a helicopter and has agreed not to fight the forfeiture of the aircraft.
William Ray "Bill" Stokely agreed this month to be under court supervision for two years. The prosecution will dismiss the indictment filed against him May 30, and no conviction will be recorded if he complies with conditions such as not operating as a pilot or controlling any aircraft during that period, according to his plea agreement.
Stokely, who owns Stokely Outdoor Advertising Inc., entered the guilty plea Feb. 8 in U.S. District Court in Phoenix. He admitted illegally altering the tail number on a Robinson helicopter in October 2011. As part of his guilty plea, he agreed not to fight the forfeiture of the helicopter to the government.
In the civil case that sought the forfeiture, the government said black tape had been placed over part of the last letter of the tail number, making it appear to be an "O" instead of a "Q."
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said Stokely had voluntarily surrendered his private pilot rotorcraft certificate in April 2008 after failing a test.
Stokely then obtained a student pilot certificate, which expired in August 2010, and failed five subsequent tests, according to Gregor.
The May indictment also charged Stokely with attempting to serve as an airman "without having a valid private pilot airman's certificate."
Stokely did not plead guilty to that charge, and the prosecution agreed to drop it in the plea deal.
Original Print Headline: Businessman guilty of helicopter fraud
David Harper 918-581-8359