Thursday, May 01, 2014

Teterboro Airport (KTEB), New Jersey: Florida man gets prison term for scamming air charter firm; 'He doesn't get it, OK?' -U.S. District Court Judge William Martini

Judge grounds convicted swindler: 37 months for Teterboro charter flight scam  

NEWARK — A smooth-talking swindler who has spent half his life conning others out of millions was sentenced today to more than three years in prison for his latest caper – posing as a high-level executive to score charter flights out of Teterboro Airport and the limo rides that went with them.

U.S. District Court Judge William Martini said he was imposing the 37-month sentence for Dante Dixon because he’d failed to abandon his criminal ways despite serving several prison stints for swindles that caused $2 million in losses.

“He hasn’t learned,” Martini said. “Nothing has deterred him up to this point.”

Dixon, 46, pleaded guilty in December to a federal charge of conspiring to commit wire fraud for a scheme to con officials at Jet Aviation into advancing him a $350,000 line of credit so he and others could take three charter flights between Miami and New Jersey last year.

In May 2013, Dixon called Jet Aviation’s offices in Chicago and California, identifying himself as “Josh Stevens,” a senior level executive of a financial institution, Newark federal prosecutors said.

Dixon and others, through their misrepresentations, managed to obtain charter flights and limousine services valued at nearly $176,000, prosecutors said. The scheme was uncovered when a Jet Aviation employee contacted the company where Dixon and the other man supposedly worked and discovered neither was an employee.

They also managed to use their phony ties to a financial institution to obtain more than $45,000 in stays at a luxury hotel in Miami as well as high-end Tiffany & Co. watches, sunglasses and sterling silver, prosecutors say.

Martini ordered Dixon to pay some $221,000 in restitution.

Dixon’s criminal history dates back to 1991 when, at the age of 23, he made false statements for a loan application and was sentenced to 13 months in prison by a federal judge in Detroit, Martini said.

Charges of forgery and tampering with evidence followed in 1992 in Ohio, Martini said. Three years later, Dixon was convicted of larceny in Michigan, followed by a conviction for impersonation in Illinois in 1997, the judge said.

And in 2000, he was accused of obtaining hundreds of unauthorized credit cards by submitting applications in the names of individuals dead and alive, court records show.

Dixon was on supervised release for an unrelated credit card fraud when he called Jet Aviation to arrange the charter flights, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Pak, who prosecuted the case.

He will begin serving the 37-month sentence after he wraps up a one-year sentence for violating the terms of his release on the credit card charge.

Dixon’s brother, Rashid Dixon, urged the judge to show leniency to a man who he said suffers from compulsive behavior he’s been unable to keep in check, even as he was beginning work as a minister in Florida.

“He was doing really well for several years and now it’s come back,” Dixon said.

“He doesn’t get it, OK,” Martini said. “This is not a mistake. We’re dealing with a mature adult here who has lived the life of cheating people.”

Dixon wrote a number of letters to the judge, detailing health-related issues that include chronic migraines and trouble with his teeth.

“I’m not standing here trying to get probation because of a toothache,” Dixon told Martini today. “I have done a lot of positive things…I’m not some guy who is not trying to take responsibility for his actions.”

Martini expressed concern with Dixon’s plans once he’s released – running a ministry near his home in Pensacola, Fla. The judge said he feared Dixon could use his position to con others out of money.

“He’s pretty smooth in terms of his ability to talk,” Martini said.

Story and comments/reaction: