News and Press Releases

New jersey man sentenced to prison for abusing sleeping woman on international flight

August 15, 2011


NEWARK, N.J. – A Berkeley Heights, N.J., man was sentenced today to 12 months in prison for sexually abusing a woman who was sleeping while on board a flight from Hong Kong to Newark Liberty International Airport, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Ramesh Advani, 65, previously pleaded guilty to an Information charging him with abusive sexual contact. He entered his guilty plea before U.S. District Judge Dennis M. Cavanaugh, who also imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

On May 21, 2010, Advani was seated next to a woman on an overnight Continental flight from Hong Kong to Newark. While the plane was over international waters, the victim fell asleep in her seat, covered with a blanket. While she was asleep, Advani reached his hand under the blanket and sexually abused her.

When the woman awoke, she realized what was happening and got up from her seat to inform the flight’s crew members.

The federal government has exclusive jurisdiction over all sexual abuse cases that occur
in American airplanes over international waters, because such crimes are not within the jurisdiction of any state.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Cavanaugh sentenced Advani to five years of supervised release and ordered him to pay a $10,000 fine.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Ward in Newark, for the investigation leading to today’s sentence.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Barbara Llanes and Zach Intrater of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark.


Defense counsel: John Arlia Esq., New York

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