Monday, October 29, 2012

Guyanese airline boss accused of embezzling US$5 million from healthcare company

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Monday, October 29, 2012 – Executives of Guyana-based chartered airline EZjet are in damage-control mode as their founder and chief executive officer Sonny Ramdeo is to be hauled before a Florida court to face accusations that he siphoned off over US$5 million from his former employer to keep his airline afloat.

Following Ramdeo’s demission of office last week to fight the lawsuit levied against him, acting chief executive officer Rosalinda Rasul has sought to assure passengers and other customers that the operations of the carrier are not affected by the scandal.

Rasul said flights will continue as normal and the airline is still pushing ahead with plans to expand its routes to include Brazil, Barbados, Fort Lauderdale and St Lucia by next month.

Ramdeo stepped down as CEO last Wednesday (October 24) and issued a press release the following day stating that he was doing so “in the interest of removing all doubt about the viability of EzJet,” adding that: “I am removing myself from EzJet management, until this embarrassing matter had been clear up and my good name has been restored.”

According to court documents, Promise Healthcare and 11 of its hospitals is suing Ramdeo, PayServ Tax and EzJet GT, in Palm Beach County Court, after hiring him eight years ago to manage payroll for its 3,500 employees in its hospitals nationwide.

The healthcare provider accuses "Sonny Ramdeo, and his companies (of) stealing over five million dollars from Promise through a sophisticated scheme of fraud and deception. Specifically, Ramdeo incorporated a company called 'PayServ Tax Inc.' and deceived Promise's senior management into believing that PayServ was a legitimate payroll tax processing company affiliated with the nationally known payroll processing company, Ceridian. Based on this lie, he deceived Promise into transferring millions of dollars to PayServ Tax Inc. and diverted over five million dollars of Promise's money to himself and his companies," the complaint states.

Moreover, the complaint states that: “Significantly, in the past two months alone, Ramdeo stole US$5,387,000 from Promise by diverting its funds to Ez Jet. He did this by diverting money in the PayServ account that had been deposited for payment of Promise's payroll taxes to his jet charter company, EZJet GT Inc.”

The hospitals are seeking damages for fraud, unjust enrichment, conversion, and civil theft and imposition of a constructive trust. They are represented by Matthew Triggs, with Proskauer Rose, of Boca Raton.

However, Ramdeo has countered that this lawsuit is all part of an elaborate cover-up by his former employers to divert attention and blame away from their own alleged fraud.

“Since my former bosses are themselves in court over diversion of over US$550 million dollars of company funds, they elected to claim ignorance and innocence when it came to coming clean about the investment. Instead, they alleged that I diverted funds to EZjet, which I did not,” he said in his press statement last Thursday.

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