False Certs Lead to Criminal Charges, Business Closure
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  1. #1
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    Default False Certs Lead to Criminal Charges, Business Closure

    A local company, PMI Industries, is now closed. It was an "...aerospace precision machining service, specializing in high-tolerance machining for flight critical aerospace parts used to build space flight vehicles by SpaceX and other Department of Defense aerospace contractors..." An employee, who is now criminally charged, falsified certifications to SpaceX on parts that were used on Falcon rockets.

    From Feds: Penn Yan man forged inspection reports for products used by SpaceX | WHAM

    Prosecutors say James Smalley of Penn Yan was employed at PMI Industries in Rochester since March 2017 as a quality assurance engineer. PMI was an aerospace precision machining service that specialized in high-tolerance machining for aerospace parts.

    These parts were used in spacecrafts built by SpaceX.

    Prosecutors say an independent firm that was contracted to perform quality control assurance for SpaceX found multiple source inspection reports and certifications from PMI had been falsified. They reportedly impacted critical parts used on the Falcon spacecraft.

    Additionally, it was determined that 76 individual parts that were never rejected during inspection were still shipped to SpaceX.
    Prosecutors say 10 space missions were affected because of parts from PMI, including seven NASA flights, and two U.S. Air Force Missions.

    Court papers allege Smalley admitted to forging signatures in order to ship more product. Investigators say he did so under his own direction.

    SpaceX went on to terminate its work with PMI. The company, which averaged about $200,000 per month through its contract with SpaceX, was forced to close – causing 35 people to lose their jobs.


    Smalley can get up to 10 years and an $250,000 fine.

    Another article: Feds: Penn Yan Man forged reports for critical SpaceX rocket parts

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    Just saw that on the news tonight. Disappointing lack of integrity where it's most needed.

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    He commutes from Penn Yan to Rochester every day ?
    Yikes.....

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    Not any more.

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    I don't know if anyone looked at my last post on the other thread about false certs since it was at the end of the thread, but this has been going on since at least 1750 BC.

    Bill

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    Quote Originally Posted by 9100 View Post
    I don't know if anyone looked at my last post on the other thread about false certs since it was at the end of the thread, but this has been going on since at least 1750 BC.

    Bill
    Damn, James Smalley must be almost 4,000 years old then! He should be selling his miracle age prolonging secrets, not forging signatures on reports.

    OK, dumb joke aside, this is a terrible thing to read about. I have to wonder if there wasn't someone higher up the food chain who was aware of this, or did he really do it on his own?

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    I read that, and thought- 35 people doing 200K a month?

    Sounds to me like they were going out of business before the idiot falsified the certs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jancollc View Post
    I read that, and thought- 35 people doing 200K a month?

    Sounds to me like they were going out of business before the idiot falsified the certs.
    200k in just SpaceX work. Obviously they had a lot of other work as well.

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    I hope he gets the max.

    Sometimes the only meaning to ones life is to serve as a warning to others.

    Someone in our org decided we didn't need inspectors anymore. Just get the suppliers to certify that every dim on the dwg is in tolerance. Hell, The inspectors were the only ones who actually knew how to build our stuff. The engineers (me) didn't. I had managers say draw what you want, let the supplier figure out how to make it. Total BS. I worked with the inspectors all the time to make drawings that were easy for the suppliers to get right.

    I don't have much faith in some of our suppliers.
    We've had "machinists" transpose angles, and couldn't figure out for themselves why the second bore wasn't in the right place. "It always worked before." Really?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jancollc View Post
    I read that, and thought- 35 people doing 200K a month?

    Sounds to me like they were going out of business before the idiot falsified the certs.
    It's about $70K/employee a year, just on SpaceX - presuming they have other work that's not
    horrible. But it could explain why the guy was willing to risk things if there wasn't much else.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NRDock View Post

    I don't have much faith in some of our suppliers.
    We've had "machinists" transpose angles, and couldn't figure out for themselves why the second bore wasn't in the right place. "It always worked before." Really?
    Yup, I had made a simple bearing housing drawing, fully dimensioned, tolerance,
    & GD&T'd.

    Got a call.....apparently the suppliers secretary.
    "what dimensions can we let slide, and which are important ?"

    I carefully looked all over the drawing, and in a rare instance,
    explained "All of them".

    Normally I'm willing to work thru any questions, and even freely admit
    if I have left off a dim. tolerance, etc.

    But she just kept insisting "What can we let slide ?"

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    35 guys should be cranking out 4-5 times that much. Why close the whole company? Lay off the SpaceX guys and keep the other guys going.

    The guy that falsified the paperwork worked only on SpaceX, the company will blame it all on him anyway. If they were really a viable company that size, even a 200K hit should be survivable.

    The article said the guy copy/pasted the inspector's signature and bug on his computer, and made NTD test reports for parts that had not been tested. Where was the inspector and the testing guys?

    Were they really making everything in house or are they one of those companies that farms out the work and puts their stamp on the parts?

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    Dunn and Bradstreet listed their gross at $8.9 million in some unspecified year. They were an LLC owned by a company in Buffalo.

    Wayback machine has their equipment list from a few years ago.

    Machine Centers
    Name Axis Spindle RPM Travels (in.) Load Capacity (lbs) Quantity
    Hermle C 60 5 12,000 47.25 x 51.2 x 35.43 5,500 1
    Hermle C 42 5 18,000 31.5 x 31.5 x 21.65 3,086 1
    Ingersoll Eagle V 9 Graphite-Hard Mill 5 36,000 31.5 x 23.62 x 19.69 1,100 1
    Toshiba BTH-110 R 18 H3 Boring Mill 3 8,000 100 x 80 x 60 x "W" 20 22,000 1
    ROKU ROKU GR-658 Graphite-Hard Mill 3 32,000 23.6 x 19.6 x 15.7 440 1
    Mitsubishi DV-1600 3 15,000 63 x 35 x 31.5 4,400 2
    Mitsubishi DV-1000 3 15,000 40.2 x 22.0 x 23.6 1,650 1
    Mazak 510C 4 12,000 41 x 20 x 20 3,350 2
    Mori Seiki 1035 3 12,000 41 x 22 x 20 3,500 1
    Sharnoa 3 8,000 40 x 20 x 20 3,350 1
    Fadal VMC 3 10,000 40 x 20 x 20 3,350 1
    EDM
    Name Travels (inches) Load Capacity (lbs) Quantity
    Ingersoll Gantry 1200 39.4 x 49.2 x 23.6 16,535 1
    Ingersoll Gantry 800 21.6 x 33.5 x 17.7 4,400 1
    Mitsubishi Wire EDM MV4800 31.5 x 23.6 x 20.1 6,600 1
    Mitsubishi EA 12V 31.4 x 21.6 x 9.8 1,540 1
    Hole Popper 13.8 x 9.8 x 7.8 1
    Hansvedt 12 x 10 x 8 1
    Grinders
    Name Travels (inches) Quantity
    Okamoto Wet Grinder 12 x 24 1
    Chevalier Wet Grinder 20 x 36 1
    MHT Mitsui 6 x 12 4
    MHT Mitsui 8 x 18 1
    Harig 6 x 12 1
    #3 Moore Jig Grinder 10 x 20 1
    Lathes
    Name Travels (inches) Quantity
    Mori Seiki 22" Dia. x 60" Bed 1
    Okuma Genos L300 10" Dia. x 48" Bed 1
    Trak 16" Dia. x 28" Bed 1
    Molding Presses
    Name Tonnage Type Shot Size (ounces)
    Toyo 110 Electric 6.7
    Toyo 150 Electric 6.7
    Nigatta 310 Electric 16.54
    Magna 400 Hydraulic 41
    FCS 385 Hydraulic 43
    Engel 400 Hydraulic 38
    Cincinnati 500 Hydraulic 41
    Sandretto 900 Hydraulic 101
    Sandretto 1100 Hydraulic 128
    Inspection Equipment
    Name Travels (inches) Quantity
    Zeiss Contura G2 63 x 39.4 x 31.5 1
    Giddings & Lewis Cordax 35-400 30 x 42 x 28 1
    Starrett / Sigma Optical Comparator 12 x 6 1

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    Why am I thinking that there is a whole nother side to this story that we will never know??
    One always needs a sacrificial lamb. Something smells funky but this end never comes out or makes the press.
    In such a case you need blood from someone. Hopefully it's not you.
    Bob

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    This is really too bad. This guy likely felt under pressure real or imagined. Understanding the consequences of fraud on certifications should in itself go a long way to discourage this. Anytime A plane crashes or a rocket explodes I always think of the machined items which might have failed.

    I bet that questions will be asked of him about what came over him to do this. Also they will want to know if this occurred on other occasions. It would be interesting to find out what is learned about this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spinit View Post
    .....
    I bet that questions will be asked of him about what came over him to do this. Also they will want to know if this occurred on other occasions. It would be interesting to find out what is learned about this.
    You won't know. The term for it "throwing somebody under the bus" and is the game and inside the rules.
    It's the way it is done and no amount of right or wrong will change it.
    You seem to have a view on lots of things as if this world is white and black. There are so many shades of gray.
    In the software world I'm a Black, White and in between hat and perhaps in businesses I've been all that too.
    Bob

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    There is a lot to be said on the topic of black and white. With this situation to me it is simple the person should never do anything which would cause him to lose his freedom. His employer is only a human being not his King. I have always noted that learning more about our world can complicate things or clarify them and in the end it often boils down to personal values we learn growing up.

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    Like I said before when a spaceX rocket blew up due to some bracket failure.

    Musk has always set ridiculous deadlines for launches and product releases to please investors and make it look like they were " on top of it " have it be spacex or tesla or whatever. Followed by lots of stories/reports of over working everyone 24/7 to try to meet the ridiculous deadline and making it clear if they don't get it done and put in the crazy hours someone else will... just look at the online reviews from their past employees...

    So then you have employees and suppliers going, well shit its gotta fly in a week, its a little bit wrong but it'll take a month to get more material and do it over, so we either tell them it ain't happening parts got screwed up and we lose that customer(Or who knows what the penalties are for not delivering...), or we keep our fingers crossed... and some people are no doubt picking the 2nd choice, and with a lot of these space things being engineered to the edge of failure cause its only gotta do it once, well, there's not much room for error eh. But there sure should be room for more than 1 person to blame cause this shit starts from the top.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wheels17 View Post
    Dunn and Bradstreet listed their gross at $8.9 million in some unspecified year. They were an LLC owned by a company in Buffalo.
    I wonder if moog spun off something for "protection of the mother ship":
    Moog, Inc. - Precision motion control products, systems, servovalves, actuators

    Or:
    Triumph Group – A global leader in supplying and overhauling aerospace systems and components

    google maps shows many aerospace vendors in the buffalo area.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CarbideBob View Post
    You won't know. The term for it "throwing somebody under the bus" and is the game and inside the rules.
    It's the way it is done and no amount of right or wrong will change it.
    You seem to have a view on lots of things as if this world is white and black. There are so many shades of gray.
    In the software world I'm a Black, White and in between hat and perhaps in businesses I've been all that too.
    Bob
    Ehh

    sometimes people are just crooks

    sometimes it is not a conspiracy


    I mean, maybe there were impossible timelines and unrealistic expectations, but no one truly forces you to be a crook


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