Falsification, Reproduction, or Alteration. The FAA relies on information provided by owners and remote pilots of sUAS when it authorizes operations or when it has to make a compliance determination. Accordingly, the FAA may take appropriate action against an sUAS owner, operator, remote PIC, or anyone else who fraudulently or knowingly provides false records or reports, or otherwise reproduces or alters any records, reports, or other information for fraudulent purposes. Such action could include civil sanctions and the suspension or revocation of a certificate or waiver
Currently, the U.S. criminal code prohibits fraud and falsification in matters within the jurisdiction of the executive branch. 18 U.S.C. Section 1001.The FAA too may impose civil sanctions in instances of fraud and falsification in matters within its jurisdiction. The FAA has exercised this power in 14 CFR 61.59, 67.403, 121.9, and 139.115, which currently impose civil prohibitions on fraud and false statements made in matters within the FAA’s jurisdiction.
The NPRM proposed to prohibit a person from making a fraudulent or intentionally false record or report that is required for compliance with the provisions of part 107. The NPRM also proposed to prohibit a person from making any reproduction or alteration, for a fraudulent purpose, of any certificate, rating, authorization, record, or report that is made pursuant to part 107. Finally, the NPRM proposed to specify that the commission of a fraudulent or intentionally false act in violation of § 107.5(a) could result in the denial, suspension, or revocation of a certificate or waiver issued by the FAA pursuant to this proposed rule. For the reasons discussed below, this rule will finalize these provisions as proposed with some minor revisions for clarification purposes.
Three organizations and one individual commented on the proposal to prohibit fraud and false statements, and all of those commenters generally supported the proposal. For example, the Small UAV Coalition stated that they support the FAA’s proposal to prohibit intentionally false or fraudulent documents used to show compliance with part 107, and added that such false or fraudulent records or reports warrant enforcement action. One individual supported “heavy fines or jail” for those providing false information.
Two commenters, the University of North Dakota’s John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences and the Institute of Makers of Explosives, requested clarification as to the penalties that could be imposed for violating the prohibition on fraud and false statements. The University of North Dakota’s John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences asked whether FAA Order 2150.3B would be applicable in its existing form to operations under part 107 and if so, whether the sanctions guideline ranges described in that publication are appropriate for violations of part 107.
Subpart C of 14 CFR part 13 specifies the penalties that the FAA may impose in response to a regulatory violation. To provide further clarity, the FAA has amended § 107.5 with a list of potential sanctions that could be imposed in response to a violation of § 107.5. Those sanctions may, among other things, include a civil penalty or certificate action. The FAA has also issued generally applicable guidance on sanctions that may be imposed for regulatory violations, which can be found in FAA Order 2150.3B. The FAA is currently considering whether Order 2150.3B addresses UAS-specific considerations that may arise in enforcement actions under part 107, and the agency may revise this order, as appropriate, to reflect this consideration.