FBI arrests EZ Jet CEO in connection with a US $20 Million payroll tax fraud scheme – 13th Dec 2012
Just one day after EZ Jet announced that its CEO, Sonny Ramdeo, was on the front-line dealing with the sudden suspension of the airline’s license, the FBI moved in and arrested Ramdeo in New York and charged him with wire fraud in connection with a US $20 Million payroll tax fraud scheme.
An indictment against the 35-year-old, Sonny Austin Ramdeo, was unsealed on December 6th. He was arrested on Wednesday and taken to court, where he made his initial appearance. He is however, expected to be moved to the Southern District of Florida to face the charges.
The indictment states, that from as early as 2005, Sonny Ramdeo was employed as the payroll supervisor at Promise Healthcare Inc. (Promise Health Care) and Success Healthcare Group (Success Healthcare), both of which owned and operated hospital facilities throughout the United States.
It said, as the payroll supervisor for the two companies, Ramdeo was responsible for overseeing the payment of bi-weekly wages and related payroll taxes for more than 3,500 employees.
The US Attorneys office said, to execute his scheme, Ramdeo allegedly incorporated PayServ Tax Inc. and thereafter represented to officers and employees of Promise Healthcare that PayServ Tax would handle the transfer of local, state, and federal payroll taxes to the proper agencies on behalf of Promise Healthcare and Success Healthcare.
Instead of doing that, according to the court documents, Ramdeo kept the money paid by Promise and Success Healthcare to PayServ for his personal use.
It is believed that that money may have been used to invest in the start up of EZ Jet airlines which was launched just over a year ago, offering services between Guyana and New York. EZ Jet would later expand to the Trinidad and Canadian markets before its license to operate was revoked by the US and Guyana Governments earlier this year.
That revocation came after Ramdeo was slapped with a lawsuit by one of the health care providers, claiming over 5 million US dollars and pointing to the money being channelled to start up EZ Jet. The lawsuit forced Ramdeo to step down as CEO, but he took back the position following the revocation of the license and the suspension of the EZ jet operations.
He has been overlooking the company’s efforts to reimburse passengers who were affected by the closure.
When EZ jet began operations, several questions were raised about where the airline was getting its investment money. The carrier always maintained that it was not involved in anything illegal.