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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Private Charter Aviation Broker Arrested For Wire Fraud And Aggravated Identity Theft

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, William F. Sweeney Jr., the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and James P. O’Neill, Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), announced the arrest of TOMER OSOVITZKI, a/k/a “Tom Osovitzki,” for wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.  OSOVITZKI was arrested earlier today in Aventura, Florida, and was presented in the Southern District of Florida.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “As alleged, Tomer Osovitzki manipulated the approval system for credit cards to push charges through that he knew were unauthorized and would have been declined.  Additionally, Osovitzki allegedly used his clients’ credit card account information to make unapproved charges.  Now, Osovitzki and his company are grounded and he must answer for his crimes.”

FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. said:  “The FBI works each day trying to thwart these types of complex financial crimes.  There were victims harmed by Osovitzki’s alleged scheme, since he used his clients’ credit cards to pay for flights they didn’t purchase.  Fraudsters seem to forget there is a paper trail when it comes to financial transactions and they will eventually get caught.”

NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill said:  “These charges reflect how eager criminals are to exploit a victim’s personal information and profit through fraud.  I commend the NYPD detectives, FBI agents, and prosecutors of the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District for their efforts and cooperation in this investigation into wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.  Together, we will continue to be relentless in fighting crime that impacts the people we serve wherever, and however, it occurs.”

According to the allegations in the Complaint unsealed today[1]:

OSOVITZKI was the founder and president of a company that was in the business of brokering airline and private charter flights (“Osovitzki’s Company”).  OSOVITZKI perpetrated a scheme to defraud aircraft charter companies and other merchants, a credit card company (the “Credit Card Company”), and credit card payment processors of more than $2.1 million by, among other things, inducing or causing aircraft charter companies, other merchants, the Credit Card Company and credit card payment processors to process credit card transactions under the false pretense that they had been approved by the Credit Card Company.    

From March 2017 through March 2018, OSOVITZKI and agents of Osovitzki’s Company repeatedly used credit cards issued by the Credit Card Company to OSOVITZKI, his wife, and his mother, as payment for aircraft charter flights and other goods and services.  These transactions were or would have been declined by the Credit Card Company had they been processed normally through a credit card point-of-sale device, because the cards had been cancelled by the Credit Card Company, or because the accounts did not have sufficient available credit.  OSOVITZKI and agents of Osovitzki’s Company provided fraudulent authorization codes to the merchants in order to dupe them into processing “force-post” transactions.  OSOVITZKI told the merchants that he had obtained these authorization codes from the Credit Card Company.  This was not true.  However, based on these false representations, merchants conducted “force-post” transactions.  Because the authorization codes had not in fact been provided by the Credit Card Company, the transactions were later declined.

Osovitzki’s Company also used credit card account numbers belonging to its customers to pay for more than $1.3 million of charter flights those customers had not requested, authorized, or utilized, including at least one flight for which OSOVITZKI was a listed passenger.  

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OSOVITZKI, 42, of Aventura, Florida, has been charged with one count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and one count of aggravated identity theft, which carries a mandatory minimum consecutive sentence of two years in prison.  The maximum potential sentence in this case is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of OSOVITZKI will be determined by a judge.

If you believe you were a victim of this crime, including a victim entitled to restitution, and you wish to provide information to law enforcement and/or receive notice of future developments in the case or additional information, please contact the Victim/Witness Unit at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York at (866) 874-8900.  For additional information, go to:

Mr. Berman praised the investigative work of the FBI and the NYPD.

This case is being prosecuted by the Office’s General Crimes Division.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey C. Coffman is in charge of the prosecution.          

The charges in the Complaint are merely accusations, and OSOVITZKI is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Complaint and the description of the Complaint set forth below constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 
Updated May 24, 2019