Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced the conviction in Manhattan federal court of STEFAN GILLIER, a/k/a “Stephan Gillier,” a/k/a “Stefan R.R. Gillier,” a/k/a “Roland Gillier,” a/k/a “Roland Van Gorp,” a Belgian citizen, for engaging in a conspiracy to fraudulently obtain over $6 million dollars’ worth of aircraft parts through the use of stopped check payments. The jury convicted GILLIER today following a one-week trial before U.S. District Judge Paul A. Engelmayer.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “Today’s guilty verdict by a unanimous jury on all counts brings an end to Stefan Gillier’s long con, which began in 2004 and ultimately resulted in his arrest and extradition from Italy in 2019. Gillier defrauded aerospace manufacturers out of millions of dollars’ worth of aircraft parts through front companies, fake identities, and hundreds of stopped checks. He will now face sentencing for his crimes.”
According to the Indictment, documents previously filed in the case, and evidence introduced at trial:
GILLIER was president and ran the day-to-day business activities of RTF International Inc. (“RTF), a broker of aircraft parts. RTF began obtaining aircraft parts from Honeywell International, Inc. (“Honeywell”) in June 2004. Starting in 2005, RTF began increasing the number of parts it ordered from Honeywell, paying for them by check. RTF paid with checks written in foreign currency and for amounts well above the cost of the parts, which created an apparent credit balance in RTF’s favor in Honeywell’s accounting system. RTF wrote approximately $17 million worth of checks to Honeywell but stopped payment on approximately $15 million worth of checks. In total, RTF was able to obtain over $6 million worth of aircraft parts without paying for them. In June 2006, Honeywell executed a civil attachment order and recovered some of the stolen aircraft parts.
To execute the scheme, GILLIER signed checks to Honeywell on behalf of RTF but repeatedly caused stop payment orders to be placed after Honeywell shipped the parts to RTF. When questioned by Honeywell’s employees about these stop payment orders, GILLIER, using the alias “Roland Van Gorp,” falsely represented that the stop payment orders were the result of a misunderstanding with the bank and that he would check with RTF’s finance department. In fact, as GILLIER knew, he had issued the stop payment orders, and RTF did not have a finance department.
In June 2006, following the execution of the civil attachment order by Honeywell, GILLIER caused various large transfers of fraudulent proceeds into bank accounts controlled by him, his relatives, and a co-conspirator (“CC-1”). The very next day, on June 15, 2006, GILLIER left the United States for Canada.
After Honeywell discovered that it was being victimized by RTF, GILLIER and CC-1 continued their fraud scheme through a new corporate entity, “UN Air Services, Inc.” (“UAS”) (which had no relation to the United Nations). In 2006, UAS began obtaining aircraft parts from Pratt & Whitney Component Solutions, Inc. (“Pratt & Whitney”). Like RTF, UAS began stopping payment on checks it had written to Pratt & Whitney for the aircraft parts after Pratt & Whitney delivered the aircraft parts.
GILLIER was arrested and extradited from Italy in 2019.
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GILLIER, 49, a citizen of Belgium, was convicted of eight counts: (1) one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud, interstate transportation of stolen property, and money laundering, which carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison; (2) one count of mail fraud, which carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison; (3) one count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison; (4) one count of interstate transportation of stolen property, which carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison; and (5) four counts of money laundering, each of which carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison.
The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge. GILLIER is scheduled to appear for sentencing before Judge Engelmayer on January 26, 2023.
Mr. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of Homeland Security Investigations and the U.S. Department of Defense, Defense Criminal Investigative Service. He also thanked the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. Department of Commerce, law enforcement and prosecutorial authorities in Italy, including the Italian Ministry of Justice and Interpol Rome, Honeywell, and Pratt & Whitney for their assistance in this case. The U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs of the Department’s Criminal Division provided significant assistance in securing the defendant’s extradition from Italy.
The prosecution of this case is being handled by the Office’s Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Dina McLeod, Micah Fergenson, Michael McGinnis, and Michael Neff are in charge of the prosecution.