US$20M fraud... EZjet boss to stay in jail until trial

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US$20M fraud... EZjet boss to stay in jail until trial

Unread post by bimjim » Fri Dec 21, 2012 ... til-trial/

US$20M fraud... EZjet boss to stay in jail until trial
–has not hired a lawyer
DECEMBER 18, 2012

EZjet founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Sonny Austin Ramdeo, whose dramatic arrest last week in New York made headlines, has agreed to stay behind bars until his trial in Florida.

Ramdeo, accused of a multi-million-dollar tax fraud, was widely expected to seek his pre-trial freedom in a Brooklyn, New York court yesterday.

However, Ramdeo, before Magistrate Judge Robert M. Levy, agreed to remain in jail until his case is moved to Florida.

The executive, who is facing up to 60 years in federal custody for a US$20M tax fraud scheme, was escorted into Courtroom 2A in the Brooklyn Federal Court House at approximately 11:25 hours. Wearing a khaki jumpsuit and red undershirt, a visibly withdrawn Ramdeo wore no shackles or restraints. He was represented by Assistant Federal defender, Kannan Sundaram.

He stood throughout the hearing with his hands behind his back and responded with a simple “Yes, your Honour”, when questioned about his knowledge of his rights by Judge Levy. The proceedings lasted just a few minutes.

Sundaram, his public defender, declined to give Kaieteur News a statement on the case. It is not clear if and when the case reaches the Florida courts if Ramdeo will continue with the federal defender or will seek to retain a lawyer.

He is expected to be transferred to Florida within the next few days. Judge Levy told him that if he is still in New York by this time next week, he should make contact with his federal defender.

Ramdeo was indicted on December 6 by Florida prosecutors and arrested on December 11 in Brooklyn. He was arraigned a few hours later on Wednesday before Magistrate Judge Vera Scanlon.

Legal officials had said that even if Ramdeo had applied for bail, it would have been unlikely that his application would have been successful as Assistant US Attorney, Catherine Mirabile, last Wednesday was successful in securing a temporary detention order.

With charges filed against Ramdeo since December 6, and the FBI reportedly looking for him since last month, the possibilities of bail being granted for the EZjet founder had seemed all the more remote.

Ramdeo, according to court documents, reportedly stole US$20M from a hospital chain over a seven-year period.

The court document did not say whether Ramdeo had hidden the money.

Some of the monies he is accused of stealing were said to be used to finance the operations of EZjet, a chartered airline that he started up last year December and which flew the New York/Guyana route with flights also to Toronto and Trinidad.

The Federal agents, led by Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, said that Ramdeo transferred the money from Promise and Success Healthcare, which ran more than 17 hospitals across the US. He allegedly funneled the monies to his payroll tax company, PayServ from where some were used to finance EZjet’s operations.

The federal agents had signaled their intention to arrest him in early November.

Ramdeo immediately went into hiding, but gave the impression through his local country manager, Rosalinda Rasul, that he was communicating with the Feds.

He even returned as Chief Executive Officer having resigned when the first accusation of theft surfaced through a writ filed by Promise Healthcare, accusing him of stealing US$5.4 million.

Nobody seemed to have known where he was, yet he was running EZjet.

Investigators cornered Ramdeo in Brooklyn, New York on Tuesday night.

He was immediately arrested and placed before Magistrate Judge Scanlon in a federal court in the Eastern District of New York.

Court documents released by the Feds explained that Ramdeo was employed as the Director of Payroll of Promise Healthcare Inc. and Success Healthcare LLC. He was responsible for the payments of bi-weekly wages and related payroll taxes for more than 3,500 employees of the companies.

According to the indictment, as early as September 3, 2010, and continuing through October 12, 2012, at Boca Raton, Palm Beach County, in the Southern District of Florida, and elsewhere, Ramdeo devised a scheme to defraud the hospitals by stealing the payroll taxes.

He did this by establishing Payserv Tax Inc. which he claimed, using false e-mails, was a subsidiary of Ceridian Corporation, a well known company that once did payroll services for the hospitals.

This case in Florida, where Ramdeo was based, is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ellen L. Cohen.

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