A 15-year veteran United Airlines flight attendant, who was fired after unsuccessfully complaining that a male supervisor hit on him sexually and responded by phoning in eight bomb threats against his ex-employer in 2012 and 2013, was sentenced Monday to 18 months in federal prison.
Patrick Cau, who also uses the name Patrick Kaiser, additionally must pay $305,000 in restitution to United and another $9,000 to the Los Angeles Police Department's bomb squad whose valuable time was wasted by the hoaxes.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigated the threats and arrested Cau, who unsuccessfully tried to shield his identity by using numerous pay phones and falsely implicating former colleagues, according to a U.S. Department of Justice report.
A federal grand jury indicted Cau, who was fired from United in 2011, last May and the defendant signed a guilty plea in August.
Cau's criminal defense lawyer John J. Duran, a longtime member of the West Hollywood City Council, described his client as "a good man" who quickly accepted responsibility and regrets his conduct.
"Cau now realizes that he exhibited extremely poor judgment and deeply regrets his behavior and shame that it has caused for his family and partner," Duran told U.S. District Court Judge Otis D. Wright II.
Duran--who suggests in court filings that United unjustly backed a boss who committed same-sex, sexual harassment against his client--pushed for a punishment of six months--or essentially time served in pre-conviction custody.
Though acknowledging Cau quickly confessed, Assistant United States Attorney Melissa Mills determined that the appropriate punishment should be 18 months in prison, a stance accepted by Judge Wright.
"[Cau's] conduct caused numerous law enforcement agencies to divert attention from other matters in order to spend hours fruitlessly investigating [his] hoaxes," Mills told Wright.
Cau, 41, often worked flights between London and Los Angeles and had recently hoped to win a flight attendant job with American Airlines until the Dallas-based operation discovered that federal officials had placed him on a no-fly list.
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The fake bomb threats didn't just waste airline and police resources, the delayed flights left hundreds and hundreds of innocent passengers subjected to heightened scrutiny and lost flights.
Cau--a German national who had obtained a U.S. work permit and, until this sad episode, had a clean criminal record--could be permanently deported upon his release from a federal prison.