April 29, 2014

Resident of Florida and Ohio Sentenced to 37 Months in Prison for Defrauding Charter Flight Company and Others of Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars

NEWARK, NJ—A resident of Florida and Ohio was sentenced to 37 months in prison today for his role in defrauding a charter flight company and other merchants of hundreds of thousands of dollars in luxury goods and services, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Dante G. Dixon, 46, of Miami, Florida and Akron, Ohio, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge William J. Martini to an information charging him with conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Judge Martini imposed the sentence—which will run consecutively to a one-year sentence previously imposed by U.S. District Judge Dickinson R. Debevoise for a violation of supervised release—today in Newark federal court.

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

From May through June of 2013, Dixon and others conspired to fraudulently obtain at least three private charter flights from Jet Aviation—an international business aviation services company with U.S. headquarters in Teterboro, New Jersey—as well as tens of thousands of dollars in other luxury goods and services. Dixon and others used sham lines of credit issued to a well-known financial institution, of which they claimed to be employees.

On May 5, 2013, an individual using the name “Josh Stevens” called Jet Aviation’s offices in Chicago, Illinois and Van Nuys, California to inquire about its private charter flight services. He identified himself as a senior vice president at the financial institution and provided a supposedly affiliated e-mail address, to which a Jet Aviation employee sent a draft charter services agreement. The agreement was signed by “Josh Stevens” and returned to Jet Aviation on May 9, 2013, falsely listing “Josh Stevens” as a senior vice president and Dixon as a vice president. The aviation company established an account and a line of credit for $350,000, which Dixon and others used to take private charter flights.

As a result of their misrepresentations to Jet Aviation, Dixon and others fraudulently obtained private high-end charter flights and limousine car services, with a total value of $175,790, for which Jet Aviation never received payment.

Dixon and others made similar misrepresentations about their purported employment at the financial institution to other luxury service providers and obtained approximately $20,000 in luxury watches, sunglasses, and sterling silver and leather business cardholders, and approximately $25,500 in hotel stays at a luxury hotel in Miami.

As a result of their scheme, Dixon and others fraudulently obtained more than $220,000 in luxury goods and services.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Martini sentenced Dixon to three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay restitution of $220,957.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford in Newark, with the investigation.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Pak of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit in Newark.

This case was coordinated with President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF), which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated, and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. Attorney’s Offices, and state and local partners, it is 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 more than 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants, including more than 2,700 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the Task Force, visit www.StopFraud.gov.

Defense counsel: Lorraine Gauli-Rufo Esq., Verona, N.J.