Apr 05, 2013 News Comments Off on EZjet boss to face more charges
– says plea deal not likely, wants trial postponed again
Embattled EZjet executive, Sonny Ramdeo, who is set to face fresh fraud charges, has asked that his trial be delayed further so that his lawyer can prepare.
Ramdeo, who was arrested in a Bronx, New York basement late last year by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) after being on the run for months, was scheduled to face trial around April 22, according to court documents filed Tuesday by his lawyer, Valentin Rodriguez.
Settlement by a plea agreement is not likely at the moment, the court documents said.
Ramdeo, who is accused of stealing US$20M from his US employer, Promise Healthcare Inc., beginning in 2005, is likely to face more charges under additional indictments to be filed by prosecutors. He had allegedly used some of the money to bolster the operations of EZjet, an airline he founded and launched late 2011 to operate the Timehri and New York route.
On Tuesday, Rodriguez in a motion filed asking for the April 22 date to be pushed back, said that his client has agreed to waive his rights to a speedy trial, paving the way for this development.
Ramdeo had initially appeared in a New York court where he agreed not to fight moves by prosecutors to have him transferred to Florida, another US state, to face fraud charges.
According to the court documents, Rodriguez, in arguing for more time to prepare for Ramdeo’s defence, said that the case is a complex one.
“While the charges involve only wire fraud, the genesis of this action revolves around the Defendant’s role as a payroll manager, his alleged ownership of a separate payroll tax service used by Promise Healthcare and its affiliates, and his ownership interest in a charter air service that was apparently receiving funds from the payroll tax service.”
The court documents also listed numerous bank records (from no less than a dozen bank accounts) that are still being reviewed.
Ramdeo’s lawyer also said he has hired a certified fraud examiner to assist in the process, and is still reviewing documents in the possession of the Government.
In asking for the trial date to be shifted further back, the lawyer also said that prosecutors have signaled intentions “to have prepared a superseding indictment, which may add different charges that require additional preparation for the defence.”
Accordingly, the Defendant would also then be entitled to a continuance to prepare the case for trial, and to file any pretrial motions in that regard.
“Settlement via a plea agreement, at this time, is not foreseeable,” the lawyer said in the motion for continuance.
EZjet fell into financial troubles late last year, and unable to pay its creditors, was suspended by authorities in Guyana, US, Canada and Trinidad in December.
Ramdeo himself had been facing accusations of fraud and was on the run for months from the FBI before agents nabbed him in a Queens, New York basement.
Ramdeo is accused of embezzling US$20M from Promise Healthcare Inc. and Success Healthcare Group, a US hospital chain where he worked as the payroll supervisor.
As the payroll supervisor for both companies, Ramdeo managed the payroll for more than 3,500 employees in hospitals nationwide.
Federal officials say Ramdeo incorporated PayServ Tax Inc., and told the hospital chains he would handle the transfer of local, state and federal payroll taxes to the proper agencies on their behalf. Instead, authorities say, he kept the money.
In October last year, Promise Healthcare filed a lawsuit accusing Ramdeo of embezzling more than US$5M to keep his airline afloat.
Ramdeo, 35, started EZjet in late 2011, as the cheaper alternative to fly on the New York to Guyana route. However, from the onset there had been questions over the source of Ramdeo’s finances for the airline which at first glance seemed unable to maintain itself based on the low fares.
Government had continuously defended EZjet’s presence, saying that the market was badly in need of such an airline.
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