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Teterboro, NJ News

Charter jet company executive admits using unqualified pilot for 2005 Teterboro crash

Teterboro Airport jet airplane crash of 2005
2005 Teterboro crash
TETERBORO, N.J. – The director of charters of a now-defunct luxury charter jet company - who booked and dispatched a flight from Teterboro Airport which crashed on takeoff in 2005 - pleaded guilty on Tuesday to a conspiracy to defraud charter customers and brokers and to impede and obstruct the Federal Aviation Administration.

According to Acting U.S. Attorney Ralph J. Marra, Jr., Joseph Singh, 37, of Boca Raton, Fla., admitted during his guilty plea before U.S. District Judge Joseph A. Greenaway, Jr., 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 Platinum Jet Management of Fort Lauderdale.

Singh pleaded guilty to the lead count of a 23-count Indictment, charging him with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and to defraud the United States (the FAA), according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott B. McBride. Following the guilty plea, Judge Greenaway scheduled sentencing for Oct. 26.

Singh faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of the greatest of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss caused by his offense. In addition, Judge Greenaway must order that Singh pay restitution to the victims of his offense.

During the plea hearing on Tuesday, Singh stated that as the director of charters, he booked charter flights for Platinum Jet using charter brokers and dispatched Platinum Jet pilots to fly those flights. According to Singh, he dispatched unqualified pilots to fly a number of those flights, while representing to the charter brokers through wire communications that Platinum would operate in compliance with federal law.

According to Singh, he dispatched John Kimberling, who was not commercially qualified, to fly the ill-fated flight from Teterboro to Chicago. The plane crashed into a warehouse after failing to lift off. Singh admitted that he knew Kimberling was not qualified to fly that flight, and he further admitted to dispatching Kimberling on other flights.

Singh has five co-defendants, including Michael and Paul Brassington, Andre Budhan, Brien McKenzie, and Francis Vieira. Budhan pleaded guilty on June 22 before Judge Greenaway to the same conspiracy count as Singh. The remaining four defendants have pleaded not guilty to the charges and are scheduled for trial before Judge Greenaway on Jan. 19.

BERGEN COUNTY NEWS LOCATION: Teterboro NJ, Teterboro New Jersey

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