Charter Operator Guilty Of Fraud

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The co-founder of Platinum Jet Management, whose Challenger business jet went off the end of the runway at Teterboro Airport in 2005, has pleaded guilty to fraud charges for flying more than 100 charters without the proper certification. Andre Budhan could go to jail for up to four years after the investigation into the Teterboro crash turned into a criminal probe. A total of 23 charges were laid against Budhan and he pleaded guilty to the fraud charge. Even though the passengers on those flights got to where they were going, the fraud occurred because Platinum didn't tell them they didn't have the paperwork for conducting on-demand charters, according to North Jersey Crime Examiner.

There are five others charged in the alleged scheme and they've all pleaded not guilty. A trial is set for next January. Prosecutors allege that the Challenger that crashed was overfueled and couldn't get off the ground because the center of gravity was too far forward. The indictment alleges that Platinum routinely overfueled aircraft at Teterboro and other locations where fuel was less expensive. The flightless Challenger crossed a highway and plowed into a furniture warehouse, injuring all 11 people aboard and four bystanders.