Oct 26, 2012 News
– Promises to return once name is cleared
Amidst embezzlement accusations, EZjet founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Sonny Ramdeo, yesterday announced that he has stepped down.
Local head of the Guyanese operations of the low-cost carrier, Rosalinda Rasul, will act as CEO until someone is appointed, EZjet said in a statement yesterday.
“Ms. Rasul will be supported by EZjet’s advisory board members, who cumulatively serve EZjet with more than 200 years of airline experience,” the company said.
The disclosure came one day after news broke that a hospital chain in the US has sued Ramdeo for allegedly stealing US$5.4M in the last two months while he was the payroll manager.
Ramdeo refuted reports that diverted funds from Promise Healthcare to the airline. Instead, he accused Promise Healthcare of itself being involved in a US$550M diversion of company’s funds and said that its principals are in court for it.
“Since my former bosses are themselves in court over diversion of over US$550M of company funds, they elected to claim ignorance and innocence when it came to coming clean about the investment. Instead, they alleged that I diverted funds to EZjet, which I did not.”
Ramdeo, who hails from Windsor Forest, West Coast Demerara, hinted that he will be returning to the management fold of EZjet once he is vindicated.
“In the interest of removing all doubt about the viability of EZjet for which I have worked tirelessly during the past one to one-and-a-half years to establish, I am removing myself from EZjet management, until this embarrassing matter has been cleared up and my good name has been restored.”
According to the Court House News Service website, Ramdeo and his two companies – Ezjet and ‘PayServ Tax Inc.- allegedly embezzled US$5.4 million from it from Promise Health, one of the US’ largest long-term acute care hospital organizations. Most of the money, it was claimed, went to EZjet and the payroll company.
Ramdeo and his companies were accused of stealing over US$5M from Promise through a “sophisticated scheme of fraud and deception”.
“Specifically, Ramdeo incorporated a company called ‘PayServ Tax Inc.’ and deceived Promise’s senior management into believing that PayServ was a legitimate payroll tax processing company affiliated with the nationally known payroll processing company, Ceridian. Based on this lie, he deceived Promise into transferring millions of dollars to PayServ Tax Inc. and diverted over five million dollars of Promise’s money to himself and his companies,” the complaint states.
Ceridian is not a party to the complaint.
Reports said that Ramdeo forged signatures on standing transfer orders that purported to authorize Promise’s bank to debit funds from Promise’s account for transfer to PayServ’s account at PNC Bank.
”Significantly, in the past two months alone, Ramdeo stole US$5,387,000 from Promise by diverting its funds to EzJet. He did this by diverting money in the PayServ account that had been deposited for payment of Promise’s payroll taxes to his jet charter company, EZJet GT Inc.
”Upon information and belief, since creating PayServ, Ramdeo has been knowingly and intentionally misstating the amount of payroll taxes actually due by Promise and/or misstating the amount of payroll taxes actually transferred to government agencies and stealing the excess funds (in a sum that exceeds US$5,000,000).”
Meanwhile, EZjet said it will continue to operate its regular flights between Georgetown and New York, Port of Spain, and Toronto.
As a matter of fact, the airline is adding another plane for the coming Christmas season.
“EZjet is also adding a second B767 for flights over the peak Christmas season during December and January, and will maintain its policy of fresh onboard meals and two free bags at 60 pounds each with every ticket. EZjet, as Guyana’s only airline serving North America, regrets this situation and will soon announce a newly elected CEO to continue generating low fares and extra-ordinary services for all Guyana passengers and shippers.”
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