Paul and Michael Brassington, co-founders of Platinum Jet Management LLC, received lean prison sentences on September 20, 2011 for endangering the safety of an aircraft in flight, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to defraud the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Michael Brassington, the company president and chief operating officer, was sentenced to a two-and-a-half year jail sentence. Paul Brassington, vice president in charge of sales and marketing, received only a year-and-a-half jail sentence. Prosecutors were seeking sentences between 8-16 years for the two brothers, who will not have to pay fines or restitution of $4.4 million for their roles in a 2005 plane crash in Teterboro, New Jersey.
The now-defunct private jet company operated a Bombardier Challenger 600 plane that crashed on the runway at Teterboro Airport in 2005, leaving both pilots and two people seriously injured. The crash occurred when the Challenger plowed through a steel perimeter fence and collided with two passenger vehicles after the aircraft failed to get off the ground during take-off. The two people injured were passengers in those vehicles.
A charge of endangering the safety of an aircraft stemmed from Michael Brassington lying about over-fueling the aircraft with cheap fuel, which did not allow the Challenger to get off the ground. Michael Brassington was also convicted of lying in a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation and making false statements to the FAA regarding the qualifications and fatigue levels of pilots flying chartered planes for Platinum. Paul Brassington was convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and defrauding the FAA. A former Platinum client Julian Geiger wrote in a letter sent to the judge that ruled in the case, “I am outraged that we were unknowingly subjected to potentially deadly risks caused by the reckless greed of a company that clearly violated its proprietary and fiduciary duty to its customers.”
“Outrageous! So, once again, the victims are left to pay the bill,” stated John Greaves, a retired airline captain and aviation accident attorney. “No fine – no restitution and a slap on the wrist.”