Two Men Charged With Defrauding Charter Flight Company, Other Luxury Brands, Of Hundreds Of Thousands Of Dollars
NEWARK, N.J. – Two men were arrested by federal agents early this morning in Akron, Ohio, for conspiracy to defraud an aviation company out of charter flights and other businesses out of services and luxury goods, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Dante G. Dixon, 45, of Miami, Fla., and Christopher L. Henderson, 32, of Akron, Ohio, were charged by Complaint with conspiracy to commit wire fraud. They made their initial court appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kathleen Burke in Akron federal court and were ordered held until they can be transported to New Jersey.
According to the Complaint:
From May 2013 through June of 2013, Dixon and Henderson and others allegedly conspired to fraudulently obtain at least four private charter flights from Jet Aviation, an international business aviation service with its United States’ headquarters in Teterboro, N.J. Dixon, Henderson and others also conspired to obtain tens of thousands of dollars in other luxury goods and services, all via sham lines of credit issued to a well-known financial institution for the defendants and others’ use, by misrepresenting that they and others were employees at the financial institution.
On May 5, 2013, an individual using the name “Josh Stevens” called Jet Aviation’s offices in Chicago, Ill., and Van Nuys, Calif., to inquire about its private charter flight services. That individual identified himself as being employed as a senior vice president at a well-known financial institution and provided an email address purporting to be affiliated with the financial institution. It was later determined that this email address was not, in fact, affiliated with the financial institution. A Jet Aviation employee sent an email to the provided email address. The email from Jet Aviation contained a draft Charter Services Agreement, which was signed by “Josh Stevens” and returned to Jet Aviation on May 9, 2013. The Agreement falsely listed “Josh Stevens” as a senior vice president, Dixon as a vice president, and Henderson as a vice president of international affairs at the well-known financial institution.
On May 21, 2013, based on the false information provided by “Josh Stevens,” a Jet Aviation employee created an account and a $350,000 line of credit for the defendants and others. The line of credit was in the name of the financial institution on behalf and for the use of the defendants and others. Dixon and Henderson and others used the sham line of credit to take at least four private charter flights.
On June 7, 2013, a Jet Aviation employee at Teterboro met Dixon and Henderson before they boarded their charter flight to Miami, Florida. During the meeting, the defendants identified themselves as being employees at the financial institution. The Jet Aviation employee then contacted the financial institution and was informed that Dixon and Henderson and others were not, and had never been, employees at the financial institution.
As a result of their misrepresentations to Jet Aviation, Dixon and Henderson and others fraudulently obtained private high-end charter flights and limousine car services, with a total value of $175,790. Jet Aviation never received payment from the defendants and others, or from the financial institution’s line of credit, for any of the services provided to the defendants and others, including the approximately $164,911 in charter flights and the approximately $10,879 in limousine services.
Dixon and Henderson and others made similar misrepresentations about their purported employment at the financial institution to other luxury service providers, including to a Tiffany & Co. store in Bal Harbour, Fla., and to The W South Beach Hotel in Miami, Fla. These misrepresentations resulted in the defendants and others fraudulently obtaining, via sham lines of credit with Tiffany and The W, approximately $19,991 in watches, sunglasses, sterling silver and leather business cardholders, and men’s cologne from Tiffany, and approximately $25,466 in overnight hotel stays at The W.
The investigation has revealed that the financial institution was not aware that Dixon and Henderson and others were using its corporate identity. As a result of their scheme, Dixon and Henderson and others fraudulently obtained more than $220,000 in luxury goods and services.
The charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud with which the defendants are charged is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison, and a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the gain or loss resulting from the defendants’ crimes.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford, with the investigation leading to today’s arrests.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron Mendelsohn of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit in Newark.
This case was brought in coordination with President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. The task force was established to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. Attorneys’ offices and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed nearly 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,900 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, please visit www.stopfraud.gov.