Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Security: Former Flight Attendant Pleads Guilty to Making False Bomb Threats

U.S. Attorney’s Office 
Central District of California

LOS ANGELES—A German national who used to work for United Airlines pleaded guilty this morning to making false bomb threats against flights operated by the international air carrier.

Patrick Cau, who is also known as Patrick Kaiser, 40, who recently relocated to Dallas from Los Angeles, pleaded guilty today to one count of false information and hoaxes.

Cau pleaded guilty before United States District Judge Otis D. Wright, II, who is scheduled to sentence the defendant on November 18. At sentencing, Cau faces a statutory maximum penalty of five years in federal prison.

While Cau pleaded guilty to one felony count, in a plea agreement filed in federal court earlier this month, he admitted making eight bomb threats to United from October 2012 through January 2013.

In the first phone call, on October 4, 2012, Cau used a pay phone near his home to call an internal United crew-scheduling number and state that a United flight from London to Los Angeles would be bombed later that day. The subsequent calls were made from pay phones in Los Angeles, New York City, Las Vegas, and Seattle to 911, with all the calls stating that a specific United flight would be bombed.

As a result of the hoaxes, multiple law enforcement agencies were forced to respond to the bomb threats made by Cau. These law enforcement responses included evacuating people from the targeted airplanes; towing the aircraft to a safe area; searching and re-screening all ticketed passengers, baggage and cargo; and searching the aircraft by human, canine, and other detection methods.

As a direct result of Cau’s threats, United experienced substantial disruption to its business operations and services, including cancellation of and delays to flights, transfer of aircraft, and significant inconveniences to United passengers. As a result of his actions, Cau has agreed to pay $267,912 in restitution to United. Cau is also expected to be ordered at sentencing to pay an as-yet-undetermined amount of restitution to law enforcement agencies that responded to the bomb threats.

The case against Cau was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the Los Angeles Airport Police.