Tomer (Tom) Osovitzki, who served as chief executive officer of Florida-based private jet broker Jetlux from April 2015 through February 2019, was arrested in Aventura, Florida, in May for wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.
According to just-released court documents received by Private Jet Card Comparisons, he was held in jail until mid-July when was transferred to house arrest after posting $500,000 bail
According to the charges brought by the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, “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.”
It appears the action may be linked to a May 2018 lawsuit filed by Silver Air, LLC, suing Kim and Khloe Kardashian over a balance of $225,353.80. TMZ reported at the time JetLux was also a defendant in that lawsuit and had booked the private flights but never paid the operator.
The feds filing lists 30 seemingly fraudulent charges in 12 months ending March 2018 totaling $1,156,944. There were 14 charges for payments to eight different aircraft charter companies, two to a fuel supply company, and 11 to an undisclosed National Basketball Association team. Names of the private jet charter operators and NBA club were sealed.
Additionally, it appears there were 21 additional ”forced post” charges for $973,561 on cards held by Osovitzki’s wife that had either been canceled or didn’t have sufficient credit.
On its website, Jetlux says, “Flying privately has now become a realistic option for individuals, businesses, and corporations needing to travel regionally and nationally. Using Jetlux as your premier charter provider allows you to plan your trip exactly the way you want.”
It added, “Here at Jetlux we are so confident that you will fall head over heels for our dedicated staff who have a deep passion for what they do, providing the safest and most luxurious aircrafts available for private charter. The experience begins with a detailed understanding of our clients’ needs, making sure that they feel at home even as they takeoff.”
In a 2015 interview with Jetset Magazine, Osovitzki said Jetlux grew out of Toronto-based Corporate Travel Management Solutions, a corporate travel agency.
He told the magazine, “While managing travel for a number of professional sports clubs, we started to receive requests for private charters for team travel. In the span of just a few short years, we have experienced a significant increase in the volume of jet charter requests for sports clubs, including the NBA, the NHL, and MLB.”
At the time he claimed, “We also handle the majority of the NFL teams. Soon after, we started to get traction in the entertainment industry, signing a contract with a high-profile entertainment company. At the same time, we were getting a substantial number of requests from our corporate clients about the possibility of chartering private jets for their executives and board members.”
Fraudsters seem to forget there is a paper trail when it comes to financial transactions and they will eventually get caught.William F. Sweeney, Jr., FBI Assistant Director
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 added, “These charges reflect how eager criminals are to exploit a victim’s personal information and profit through fraud. “
According to the allegations, Osovitzki perpetrated a scheme to defraud aircraft charter companies and other merchants, a credit card company, and credit card payment processors of more than $2.1 million by, causing aircraft charter companies and others to process credit card transactions under the false pretense that they had been approved by the credit card company.
The complaint alleges from March 2017 through March 2018, Osovitzki and agents of his company repeatedly used credit cards issued to himself, his wife, and his mother, as payment for aircraft charter flights and other goods and services.
It says, the transactions were or would have been declined by the credit card issuer had they been processed normally through a credit card point-of-sale device, because the cards had been canceled or because the accounts did not have sufficient available credit.
It alleges the defendant provided fraudulent authorization codes to the merchants in order to dupe them into processing “force-post” transactions. Osovitzki, it alleges, falsely told the merchants that he had obtained these authorization codes from the credit card company. Because the authorization codes had not been provided by the issuer, the transactions were later declined.
During the scam, there were an alleged $1.3 million of charter flights booked, including at least one flight for which Osovitzki was a listed passenger.
He 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.
Osovitzki was released on $500,000 bond to his parents’ East Country Club Drive residence in Aventura, and was mandated to participate in a program of inpatient or outpatient substance abuse therapy.
The phone number listed for Jetlux is disconnected although the website is still operative. Attempts to reach the former CEO were unsuccessful. Currently, there are no deadlines or hearings set for the case.
A separate lawsuit by charter operator The Flightstar Corporation against Jetlux and Osovitzki filed in May 2018 was terminated August 2018.
In another case of private aviation fraud, recently Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin won a $219,692 judgment against defunct jet card provider JetCard Plus.
Kim Kardashian was part of a lawsuit filed last year in California against JetSmarter alleging fraud. While she was not named, it said that a Youtube video and Instagram post by her and the jet sharing company violated Federal Trade Commission advertising rules by not disclosing she was a compensated endorser.