- Associated Press - Thursday, October 2, 2014

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - A former California news helicopter pilot has been sentenced to two years in federal prison for lying to federal aviation officials and flying under a false name.

John Michael Dial worked under the name Thomas Cuni while making hundreds of flights in the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento between 2009 and 2012.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Sacramento said the 58-year-old from New York state was sentenced Thursday for aggravated identity theft.

Prosecutors say he used real people’s names while filing false statements with the Federal Aviation Administration and forging a U.S. passport.

Besides flying for television stations, he flew about 63 times for an air ambulance service in Susanville, California without a valid pilot’s certificate in 2011 and was hired by an air ambulance service in New York.

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