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Page last updated at 12:29 GMT, Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Bogus Qantas engineer is jailed

Qantas aircrafts at Sydney Airport
McCormack forged four character references at an earlier hearing

An Australian man, who faked being a Qantas engineer for 10 months, has been sentenced to at least two years in jail for endangering thousands of lives.

Timothy McCormack, 26, pleaded guilty to 42 charges of deception, including forging an engineer's licence.

Mr McCormack posed as a supervising engineer checking 30 Qantas 747 aircraft leaving Sydney airport.

Before being exposed in July 2007, he is said to have put the lives of 12,000 people at risk.

During sentencing at a district court in Sydney, Judge Mark Marien said that "the potential consequences of that course of conduct might have been catastrophic".

'Deliberate deceit'

Judge Marien said Mr McCormack "set out on a deliberate and conscious course of deceit, masquerading as a licensed aircraft engineer and, without being qualified, carried out technical aircraft work of a licensed engineer including certifying the work of others".

At first, Mr McCormack was employed by Qantas as a junior engineer but bosses encouraged him to start performing unsupervised maintenance checks despite not having the relevant qualifications.

One of his bosses became concerned Mr McCormack was not getting paid enough for the more senior work and asked him to produce his qualifications.

Mr McCormack then produced 10 fake exam documents and a forged licence.

The judge also criticised Mr McCormack for presenting four forged character references at an earlier hearing, in order to get a lighter prison term.

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