After a lengthy investigation by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration, OHL Solutions, formerly ActivAir Inc., has agreed to pay $1 million for failing to screen cargo shipped on passenger aircraft at Indianapolis International Airport and then covering up the violations. Three former OHL employees also face up to five years in prison for their involvement in the conspiracy.
Andrew Barnes, 32; Brian Vanhandel, 31; and Mitchell Totty, 26, all pleaded guilty to marking unscreened cargo as “screened” and falsifying records. These men, who were fired due to their actions, also confront up to $250,000 in individual fines.
The office of U.S. attorney Joe Hogsett said that prior to December 2010, ActivAir employees engaged “in a systemic pattern of record-keeping violations by failing to properly screen for explosives 100 percent of air cargo.” Such actions directly violated TSA policy, which mandated that all freight shipped on passenger craft be screened for explosives beginning August 2010.
Because of ActivAir’s intentional negligence, Hogsett said the global freight forwarder is deserving of the largest fine ever imposed by the TSA to a cargo agent. “When it comes to national security, there is no room for error, and we have no tolerance for shortcuts,” he said in a statement.
“This record-setting fine, and the important corrective actions taken by the company, underscore our dedication to ensuring the safety of all those who travel through America’s airports,” Hogsett continued.
For its part, ActivAir has cooperated with authorities. In a statement, Frank Eichler, vice president and general counsel for OHL Solutions said, “ActivAir has acknowledged the serious nature of the misconduct that occurred in its Indianapolis branch office, offered its complete cooperation in connection with the TSA investigation, and accepted full responsibility for the actions of its employees.”
ActivAir’s Indianapolis office shut down in February 2011.