YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A federal grand jury returned a 23-count indictment today against a Ridgefield aircraft parts brokering company owner from Edgewater for his role in a 19-year conspiracy to launder scrapped jet engine parts.
The indictment returned in Newark also charges 75-year-old Gideon Vaisman with avoiding taxes related to his business.
Gideon Vaisman, the sole owner of Tara Technology Corp., was charged by the grand jury with one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, nine counts of mail fraud, four counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit fraud involving aircraft parts and eight counts of filing false tax returns.
Federal agents originally arrested Vaisman on May 13, 2013 on a complaint on file with the indictment in U.S. District Court in Newark.
A co-conspirator, Carmine Coviello of Suffern, already has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and was expected to receive leniency in exchange for help in prosecuting Vaisman. Coviello’s sentencing is tentatively set for Sept. 10.
From 1990 through 2009, the federal indictment alleges, Vaisman orchestrated a scheme to defraud Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) repair stations, aircraft parts brokers, aircraft parts end-users and others by using phony documents to resell jet engine parts obtained from scrap metal dealers.
Vaisman directed Coviello to use his aircraft parts broker and seller company, Shelby Enterprises of Suffern, to buy vital jet engine parts called “blades” and “vanes” from scrap metal dealers and sand and file parts to conceal that they’d been scrapped — and, on occasion, rejected for repair by an FAA repair station, it says.
“FAA regulations mandate that only FAA-certified repair stations or certified airframe and power plant mechanics may perform such work on aircraft parts,” Fishman noted.
Vaisman, Coviello and others “also conducted sham sales of the illegally altered blades and vanes to Integrated Technology and Tara Aviation Ltd., an aircraft parts broker and seller incorporated in Tortola, British Virgin Islands, and located in Guernsey, United Kingdom,” he added.
“Despite being listed under a different owner, Tara Aviation was in fact completely controlled and financed by Vaisman,” Hoffman said.
“The sole purpose of these sales, which occurred only on paper, was to generate fraudulent trace paperwork for the parts,” which never left New Jersey, he said.
At Vaisman’s direction, Coviello “prepared fraudulent trace paperwork certifying that the parts had not been subjected to excessive stress and heat or deemed unsuitable by an FAA repair station,” the attorney general said.
“Vaisman, Coviello and another conspirator stored the blades and vanes in Tara Technology’s warehouse inventory, ultimately selling them to aircraft brokers, airlines and others on behalf of Tara Aviation using the fraudulent trace paperwork,” he said.
The indictment also charges Vaisman with failing to report $14,236,000 in net income from Tara Aviation on his personal tax returns and those of Tara Technology.
Federal sentencing guidelines expose Vaisman to up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense, if convicted at a trial. It would be far less if he accepts a plea offer from the government.
U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman credited special agents of the U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of the Inspector General; IRS-Criminal Investigation; and criminal investigators with his office for the probe and arrest.
Handling the case for the government is Deputy Chief Scott B. McBride of Fishman’s Economic Crimes Unit.
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