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Judge orders man who faked airline emergency to write apology letters

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Just what is it about airline flights that make people do crazy, and often stupid things? An incident in the 'City of Brotherly Love' is the latest case-in-point.

Back in September of 2012, 26-year-old Kenneth Smith called police at the Philadelphia International Airport to advise that liquid explosives were on a US Airways flight that had recently departed for Dallas/Fort Worth. The aircraft returned to PHL, where all 69 passengers and five crew members were safely evacuated, and no explosive materials were found during a very thorough inspection.

Apparently, Smith was upset with a passenger on the flight who federal prosecutors say was the former boyfriend of Smith's girlfriend. Christopher Shell reportedly posted a rather risque photo of the girlfriend, and Smith was expressing his displeasure via the hoax.

Employed as a pizza cook, Smith is facing up to 15 years in prison and half-a-million dollar fine when he is sentenced in mid-April. In the interim, after pleading guilty on Monday to providing malicious false information about an explosive to the police, the judge handling the case ordered him to apologize in writing to every passenger on the delayed flight. He also must provide financial restitution to the Texas-bound travelers. Additionally, he is accountable for the emergency response costs associated with the incident.

And, to top it all off, former boyfriend Shell was arrested by police on two outstanding warrants when he finally arrived at DFW Airport. Sounds like a couple of high-class individuals.



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