A French man accused of impersonating a pilot has been charged with fraud.
On March 20, police say Philippe Jeannard of Town, France, boarded a commercial airplane at Philadelphia International Airport.
Jeannard, 61, was wearing a shirt with an Air France logo and captain's epaulets on his shoulder, had a ticket for a Florida-bound flight and asked at the check-in counter for an upgrade, according to authorities. Officials say he became upset when he was told there were no available seats. A supervisor asked if he was an airline employee, and "the defendant responded that he was," authorities said.
Officials say a flight attendant noticed that he had an Air France ID card and asked "as a matter of courtesy" if he wanted to speak to the pilots. The pilot and co-pilot told authorities that he entered the cockpit while they were performing their preflight duties and checks and said he was a Boeing 747 pilot, according to investigators.
Prosecutors said the gate agent saw the defendant sitting in the jump seat behind the pilot and told him that if he was going to sit there he would have to go back to the check-in gate to complete paperwork and verifications. He allegedly left the cockpit but became verbally abusive and was told he could not continue on the flight. He later acknowledged to a manager that he was not a pilot, prosecutors said.
In an interview with police officers, prosecutors allege, he said his mother had been an Air France employee and he had falsified her ID card by adding his name, photo and status as a crew member.
Local charges against Jeannard were dropped back on April 5. The state charges including trespass, forgery and false impersonation were dropped so that he could be federally prosecuted on fraudulent identity, impersonation, forgery and trespass charges.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced that Jeannard had been charged with one count of fraud in connection to the ID card he used to gain access to the plane's cockpit.
Jeannard remains in federal custody on $1 million bail.
A federal grand jury now must indict Jeannard on the charges by the end of the month for him to be brought to trial.