Port Orange Doctor Pleads Guilty in Pilot-Exam Scam
ORLANDO, Fla. — A Volusia County doctor, who admitted to medically clearing pilots without any or adequate examinations, has paid back the government more than $440,000 as part of a plea agreement hammered out with the feds in July.
- Dr. Robert William Kurrle pleaded guilty to making false statements
- Patients he approved didn’t meet FAA rules
- Sentencing set for September 23, 2019 in Orlando
Dr. Robert William Kurrle of Port Orange pleaded guilty to three counts of making false, fictitious or fraudulent statements under Title 18 of the United States Code, according to a July 3 filing with the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.
U.S. District Judge Gregory A. Presnell is scheduled to sentence Kurrle at 10 a.m. September 23 in an Orlando courtroom.
Each guilty plea could be punishable by five years in federal prison.
The judge has been asked to consider the doctor‘s cooperation when deciding his sentence.
Kurrle examined patients in the Spruce Creek Fly-In community and acknowledged that 75 percent of the people he approved didn’t meet Federal Aviation Administration guidelines, but signed off on them anyway.
Kurrle performed approximately 3,814 medical examinations from January 1, 2017 to February 28, 2019, earning an estimated $523,740 in fees.
He agreed to forfeit 75 percent of those fees, about $392,805, to the Federal Bureau of Investigation Asset Forfeiture Section.
He additionally paid $48,818.45 to reimburse the FAA for the costs associated with retesting pilots.
“Kurrle also issued medical certificates to airmen who did not pass material portions of their medical examinations,” according to the Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Transportation.
“He then transmitted the fraudulent results to FAA, which relied on those results to determine whether the airmen could operate aircraft safely,” they continued.
After an investigation by that agency and the FBI, undercover agents went to Kurrle for three separate examinations. In all three exams, the doctor failed to:
- Measure applicants’ heights
- Examine their eyes
- Study their abdomens
- Examine their extremities or spines
- Ask applicants’ about body marks, scars or tattoos
- Perform neurologic, lymphatic or psychiatric screening