Joseph Singh, a former executive
with Platinum Jet Management in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, has
pleaded guilty to fraud charges stemming from a 2005 accident in
Singh admitted hiring unqualified pilots to fly charters for
Platinum. The Associated Press reports one of those pilots
was acting as Pilot in Command of a charter jet that aborted its
take off, slamming into a warehouse at Teterboro Airport and
injuring 20 passengers along with both pilots and two occupants of
a vehicle on the ground, according to The Wall Street Journal.
An NTSB investigation showed that the pilot failed to enusure
proper weight and balance on the aircraft prior to departure, and
that the center of gravity was too far forward, causing it to not
rotate at the proper speed.
The New Jersey court documents indicate Singh and his
co-defendants contracted with unqualified pilots and allowed them
to fly Part 135 charters, and then conspired to conceal regulatory
violations by falsely logging those flights as private Part 91
flights. Wire fraud occured when those documents were faxed across
state lines. The Journal reports that Singh admitted in court that
he dispatched the pilots on that plane knowing they were not
qualified to fly it, and that he had done the same thing on other
flights, while telling charter brokers Platinum complied with
Four of Singh's co-defendants are also charged with falsifying
weight and balance graphs to make it appear that the aircraft were
within COG limits when in fact they were not, and again faxing
those graphs over state lines.
Singh, one of six executives of Platinum indicted on charges of
fraud and lying to federal investigators earlier this year, will be
sentenced in October. He faces a maximum 5 year prison term plus a
fine. Of the others charged, one pleaded guilty last month, and the
others will go on trial in January.