Travolta’s Pilots Charged With Embezzling Almost $800,000

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Two pilots are charged with embezzling close to $800,000 from actor/pilot John Travolta’s production company. The Marion County (Florida) Sheriff’s Department confirmed to AVweb that Jean Paul Lacruz-Romero is in custody. Local news outlets have reported that Lacruz-Romero is charged with organized fraud, grand theft, and money laundering. The second pilot, identified as Jorden David Coursey, is being sought for similar charges. Both have since been terminated by Constellation Productions, which lists Travolta as President.

Travolta operates a pair of Dassault Falcon business jets as well as an Eclipse jet and other aircraft from his home at the Jumbolair aviation community near Ocala, Florida. An avid pilot, Travolta used to own a Boeing 707 in Qantas livery, which he has since donated to an Australian aviation museum. The Falcons and other aircraft are used for travel associated with Travolta’s business interests, as well as personal transportation.

According to the police reports cited in the news stories, Lacruz-Romero and Coursey used a third-party company, Lux Fuels LLC, to bill Constellation for the aircraft’s fuel and other charges. But that company, which they presented as a discount fuel broker, is licensed under Lacruz-Romero’s wife’s name.

A Constellation employee alerted authorities to suspiciously high fuel prices on invoices presented from Lux Fuels. An audit of charges between October 2021 and July 2023 revealed overcharging in the amount of $785,050, which included “administrative fees” paid to Lux Fuels.

The funds were further filtered through another company, JPL Aviation LLC, which lists Lacruz-Romero as the account administrator. Payments from Lux Fuels to JPL Aviation include money apparently used to purchase a $30,000 Cessna aircraft. According to the police report, Lacruz-Romero received $382,166 “in fraudulent funds” from Lux Fuels and Coursey received $305,231, which “represents approximately half of the funds indicated in the report of findings as fraudulent and appears to be a ‘partner distribution,’” according to the detective’s report.

While Coursey remains at large at press time, the Marion County Sheriff’s office confirmed Lacruz-Romero is being held without bond in the Marion County jail and will face a hearing sometime next month. His wife is not facing charges at this time.

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Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

19 COMMENTS

  1. I’ve heard Travolta can be a difficult employer, but … dang … if true, this is disgusting.

  2. The Coursey crime brothers are well known in the Professional Jet Pilot’s circle. Him and his brother have been busted for a host of crimes.

  3. The reference above, “being sought”, would mean there is a warrant out for “Jorden David Coursey” ? Of note he is listed on 3.21.24 in the FAA Airman Database as holding an ATP with 7 type ratings. So the FAA will only restrict one’s certificates when/if he is convicted or indicted? For no related reason I find that somewhat comforting.

      • Assuming 40K each that would obviously be over a quarter million for the type ratings alone (please someone correct these numbers). Are you implying a black market exists for type ratings ?

  4. Sad. The private sector of aviation has been plagued with unscrupulous individuals for as long as I can remember. Fortunately, the occurrences are sporadic and the perpetrators are always caught. Clearly there were check and balance protocol’s at Constellation to eventually expose the theft activity. Our company ran audits on a regular basis specifically looking for these types of activities.

  5. Just wait till the world gets round to taxing air craft fuel. Nothing like a tax bill to get accountants looking at purchasing procedures closely, and I am sure, lots of pips, which have been very profitable for the unscrupulous, will squeak.

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