Home Sacramento Press Releases 2013 Former California Pilot Arrested in New York

Former California Pilot Arrested in New York

U.S. Attorney’s Office July 23, 2013
  • Eastern District of California (916) 554-2700

SACRAMENTO, CA—John Michael Dial, aka Thomas R. Cuni, 57, was arrested on Monday in Skaneateles, New York, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

In 2012, a federal grand jury indicted Dial for two counts of making a false statement to federal aviation officials and one count of operating an aircraft without a proper pilot’s license. Dial made his initial appearance before a federal magistrate judge in Syracuse, New York. He was detained and ordered transported back to Sacramento.

According to court documents, between 2009 and 2012, Dial provided false information to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to gain approval to work as a helicopter pilot for an air ambulance service in Susanville, California, and as a news helicopter pilot in Sacramento and San Francisco. According to the complaint, in April 2012, Dial told law enforcement that he used the name Thomas R. Cuni in order to avoid apprehension for two outstanding felony warrants.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Department of Transportation- Office of Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Kyle Reardon is prosecuting the case.

If convicted, Dial faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and a three-year term of supervised release. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory sentencing factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.