Civil Air Patrol’s James Davis Sentenced to Federal Prison

by Cucamonga | AuxBeacon News Contributor

AuxBeacon really needs to preserve this story which shows just how nuts the people in Civil Air Patrol can be.

Lawyer sentenced to federal prison – 30 August 2005

A Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., lawyer who posed as an air marshal to board a plane with a loaded gun at Ontario International Airport was sentenced yesterday to nearly seven years in federal prison.

James S. Davis, 51, was found guilty in February of impersonating a federal employee for financial gain, boarding a plane with a gun and making a false statement on a Federal Aviation Administration form. He was also convicted in a second case of tax evasion, witness tampering and making a false statement on a loan application in April.

“Hopefully, Mr. Davis will spend the time rethinking his actions and getting some help,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Pegeen Rhyne said.

Davis’ lawyer, federal Public Defender Gerald Salseda, said he was not authorized to comment on the case. Davis received an 18-month sentence in the first case and a 63-month term in the second. U.S. District Court Judge R. Gary Klausner ordered Davis to serve the sentences back-to-back. Davis was detained at Ontario International Airport in June 2002 when he posed as a federal air marshal and attempted to board a Southwest Airlines flight with a gun. He completed paperwork claiming the U.S. Customs Service authorized him to carry the weapon, prosecutors said.

When he was confronted by the flight captain, Davis showed identification from the Civil Air Patrol, a volunteer organization whose members are not law enforcement officers.

“The by-laws of the Civil Air Patrol specifically prohibit the use of firearms while acting as a Civil Air Patrol volunteer,” Rhyne said.

The captain made Davis check his weapon in with the airline prior to the flight.

Maria Tesoro Fermin, the airport’s spokeswoman, said such incidents are “very atypical” at the airport, which handles about 7 million passengers a year. Davis’ sentence in this case will hopefully deter others from trying the same thing, she said. “It sets a precedent that we don’t tolerate that kind of activity at the airport and that we’re very vigilant about security,” she said.

In another incident in April 2003, Davis went to a Southwest Airlines ticket counter at John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, Calif., and claimed he worked as a Homeland Security employee, federal prosecutors said. Davis wore a shirt and hat with Homeland Security logos, Rhyne said.

He identified himself as Col. James Davis and requested a discounted federal government rate for airline tickets. “When he was asked what he did for the government, he told them he was the one who kept the country safe from terrorists,” Rhyne said. Arresting officers found handcuffs, a Taser gun and Taser cartridges in Davis’ possession, she said.

Prosecutors said Davis also failed to pay tax on $1 million in income from his Rancho Cucamonga law practice, James Davis and Associates. He owed more than $360,000 in federal income taxes but failed to file his income returns in 1999, 2000 and 2001, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

He tried to conceal his income from the IRS by creating a bogus nonprofit corporation called the California Fire Marshal Officers’ Association.

In a loan application for the corporation, Davis claimed the association had an income of $400,000.

After IRS officials searched Davis’ home and business in July 2002, Davis sent threatening letters to people who had information relevant to the case. He threatened to file a multi-million dollar lawsuit against them, prosecutors said.

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