Federal prosecutors plan to criminally charge a former Boeing Co. pilot they suspect of misleading aviation regulators about safety issues blamed for two fatal crashes of the 737 Max, according to people familiar with the matter.

Mark Forkner, who was Boeing’s 737 Max chief technical pilot during the aircraft’s development, is likely to face prosecution in the coming weeks, these people said. In his former role, Forkner served as the plane maker’s lead contact with the Federal Aviation Administration for how airline pilots should be trained to fly the new jet.

It couldn’t be learned what formal charge or charges Forkner might face. Boeing
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admitted in a criminal settlement reached with prosecutors earlier this year that two of its employees — unnamed in that agreement — conspired to defraud the FAA about 737 Max training issues in order to benefit themselves and the company.

A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment. Boeing declined to comment.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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