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PORTLAND -- A Grants Pass man is pleading guilty to fraud in connection with the deadliest helicopter crash involving working firefighters in U.S. history.

Levi Phillips faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced in April. As part of a plea deal, he agreed to testify against another man, Steven Metheny of Central Point.

Phillips was the director of maintenance for Carson Helicopters Inc., reporting directly to Metheny, a former vice president.

Prosecutors say Metheny falsified records when submitting the winning bid for a $20 million contract with the U.S. Forest Service.

The Aug. 5, 2008, crash near Weaverville, Calif., killed the pilot, a Forest Service safety inspector and seven firefighters.

Metheny's trial is scheduled to start March 4.

Background: 'Layers of failure' in deadly copter crash

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