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Co-Founder of Charter Jet Company Admits Running Commercial Flights Without License

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On June 22, Andre Budhan of Fort Lauderdale, FL pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court, Newark, NJ to conspiracy to defraud charter customers and brokers and to impeding and obstructing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Mr. Budhan is a co–founder and manager of Platinum Jet Management (PJM), a luxury charter jet company. In 2005, one of PJM’s flights crashed on takeoff from Teterboro Airport in Teterboro, NJ. During entry of his plea, Mr. Budhan admitted, in part, that he and his conspirators booked and flew approximately 100 illegal flights valued at more than $1 million during a period when PJM did not have an FAA issued Part 135 Certificate, which would have permitted them to fly on–demand commercial flights. Also charged in the case are Michael F. Brassington, Paul Brassington, Joseph K. Singh, Brian L. Mckenzie, and Francis A. Vieira, all of whom were indicted in U.S. District Court, Newark, New Jersey, on charges of conspiracy, false statements, and destruction of an aircraft. Sentencing for Mr. Budhan is scheduled for October 5, 2009.