Ex-Platinum Jet Director Pleads Guilty to Fraud

 - July 9, 2009, 11:04 AM

Joseph Singh, former director of charters for now-defunct Platinum Jet, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to “a conspiracy to defraud charter customers and brokers and to impede and obstruct the [FAA].” Singh, 37, of Boca Raton, Fla., admitted during his guilty plea in U.S. District Court that “he dispatched unqualified or unrested pilots”–including the pilot of the jet that crashed at Teterboro on Feb. 2, 2005–to fly charter customers for Fort Lauderdale-based Platinum Jet. The defendant faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater, that was caused by his offense. In addition, Judge Joseph Greenaway Jr. must order that Singh pay restitution to the victims of his offense. Flying the Challenger 600 on February 2 was pilot John Kimberling, who was not Part 135 qualified, according to court records. On departure from Teterboro Airport, the aircraft failed to lift off from Runway 6, crossed a road, hitting cars along the way, and penetrated the wall of a warehouse before catching fire. Eight passengers, a “cabin aide” and pilots Kimberling and Carlos Salaverria escaped with minor injuries. Two people in a passing car were seriously injured.