Charter Operator Pleads Guilty to Fraud

Business Jet Traveler » August 2009
Tuesday, September 1, 2009 - 5:00am

Andre Budhan, a cofounder of defunct charter operator Platinum Jet, has pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to conspiracy to defraud customers and brokers and impede and obstruct the FAA. The case stemmed from the 2005 crash of a Challenger 600 following takeoff at Teterboro (N.J.) Airport. Budhan, who admitted that he and his coconspirators booked and operated about 100 illegal flights, faces 46 to 57 months in prison. He will also have to pay restitution to his victims and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. His five Platinum Jet codefendants have all pleaded not guilty and are scheduled for trial in January.

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“"Many years ago, our company founder, Al Conklin, sold a new twin-engine business aircraft to a very successful entrepreneur. He had established a bit of a rapport with the individual and, after the sale, asked him straight out, 'How can you justify the cost of this airplane?' His reply? 'What is the cost of a divorce?'"–David Wyndham, president, Conklin & de Decker”

-David Wyndham