Platinum Jet Cofounders Convicted on Fraud Charges
Platinum Jet chief pilot and cofounder Michael Brassington and his brother, Paul Brassington, a vice president and cofounder of the company, were convicted yesterday of “conspiracy to commit continuous willful violations of regulatory requirements for the operation of commercial charter aircraft,” according to the U.S. Department of Justice. A jury returned a guilty verdict after nearly four days of deliberation following a four-week trial at the U.S. District Court in Newark, N.J. The brothers were each convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and to defraud the FAA. Michael Brassington was also convicted of six counts of rendering false statements in relation to FAA-required paperwork to conceal the fact that ill-qualified or unrested pilots were flying charter flights. Michael Brassington was also convicted of lying in an NTSB accident report relating to a Platinum Jet crash at Teterboro (N.J.) Airport in February 2005 and of endangering the safety of an aircraft in flight. Pilot John Kimberling is being tried separately in a U.S. District Court in southern Florida. Three others from now-defunct Platinum Jet have already pleaded guilty in separate proceedings and await sentencing–pilot Francis Vieira, managing member Andrew Budhan and director of charters Joseph Singh.