EZ Jet Boss Sonny Ramdeo says he is guilty of fraud
In a clear attempt to avoid an embarrassing trial and a sterner sentence the erstwhile CEO of EZ Jet Sonny Ramdeo has admitted that he is guilty of fraud. He admits that too to money laundering and that he used several million dollars without authorization from his former employer to fund his fledgling airline business which landed in the Guyana market with excitingly low fares at the time. Ramdeo declared in a stipulation presented to a Federal Court in West Palm Beach today that he did what was stated in a superseding indictment filed in April this year. Ramdeo who was expected to go to trial this month October cut the deal with the Feds and is now asking for a reduced sentence.
Ramdeo was held late last year in a basement apartment in New York causing the low cost carrier to fold stranding passengers on both sides of the Atlantic.
According to the court documents, beginning at least as early as October 2011, transfers of money from the Payserv Tax accounts to the EZ- JET GT accounts occurred. According to the corporate officers of Ramdeo’s fomer employers’ Promise Healthcare that company did not give approval or know that the payroll tax money and fees were transferred to EZJET GT for any purpose. A review of the another company Payserv and EZ-JET accounts shows that more than $20,000,000, but less than $50,000,000, of payroll tax and fee money was transferred to EZ-JET’S account at PNC bank and to other banks in Ramdeo’s name and later transferred back to Payserv and EZ-JET. A further review shows that none of the money transferred to EZ-Jet was referred to any taxing authority.
The EZ Jet head initially denied that what he did was any type of fraud. He claimed there was a bona fide defense. The transactions cannot be considered acts constituting wire fraud, when in fact such transactions (based on the bank records provided to date) were funds that were actually immediately used for tax payments to various taxing authorities Ramdeo had claimed earlier.
In the court documents filed today Ramdeo changed course in his story.
Ramdeo was snared in the fraud allegations after his short lived upstart airline went belly up financially in less than a year of operation. EZJet flew into the Guyana market with extremely low fares but lots of questions surrounding its operations.
The EZJet boss could still face up to 20 years in prison but is expected to obtain a substantially reduced sentence because of this plea deal, he could be ordered to pay massive fines too.