Question to all former ASA students who were the victims of criminal fraud

My view from the sideline:

Question,
Has anyone ever filed a crime report so far against Prince and Reny for a criminal fraud and received a crime reference number (CRN ) assigned by the sheriff’s department?………………….didn’t think so.

Over 100 students were wronged, yet no victims officially exist as far as the sheriff’s department is concerned because no crime report was filed.

Ignorance and assumptions are all too often dangerous.

No wonder this isn’t getting any traction. Much to my surprise, there seems to be no crime report against Prince and Reny has ever been filed with Merced County Sheriff’s Department by any former ASA student. Only one filed so far appears to be the fuel supplier who was reported to be owed $56,000 unpaid fuel.

Now onto your case, no matter how bad you want the duo to be put behind bars, just hoping and thinking doesn’t make it so. This is probably what’s transpiring: No criminal report filed→no criminal victim→no criminal charge brought forward That pretty much explains it. You all need to do what it takes by methodically following the established judicial procedures step by step. Here is what you need to do:

1. Go to Merced County Sheriff’s Department and get a Criminal Report Form http://www.mercedsheriff.com/
(If they don’t have the forms available get an instruction on how to prepare or better yet get a sample copy)

2. Contact SABA and ask one of their lawyers to help preparing a crime report
3. When it’s ready, take it to the Sheriff’s Department and file it.
4. Get a crime reference number (CRN ) assigned to your case (this is used for follow up and status check)
5. Tell everyone to do the same, more the better to place the case in a higher priority.
6. Follow up on the status using your CRN
7. Report on this blog from time to time to keep everyone posted until the justice is done.

Echo Yankee, over & out!

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ASA could become the subject of a criminal probe led by FBI

ASA students celebrating Reny Kozman's b'day, a file photo.
ASA students celebrating Reny Kozman's b'day, a file photo.

American School of Aviation,  already besought with civil lawsuits, could become the subject of a criminal probe led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Merced County District Attorney Larry Morse II has asked the FBI to take a role into the investigation of the American School of Aviation. Morse said the district attorney’s office needs the FBI’s assistance in performing forensic accounting to discover if crimes were committed by Manpreet “Prince” Singh and his wife Reny Kozman, who co-owned the flight school along with partners in India.

“There are a variety of issues involving potential criminal fraud arising from the situation,” Morse wrote in the letter sent to the FBI.

As a matter of course, the FBI will not confirm if they are involved in a criminal investigation.

The students’ tuition fees were supposed to be kept in a trust account and charged as the students progressed through their flight training. A lawsuit filed by 52 of the students in July alleges that Singh directed the tuition directly into his own accounts. It accuses him of fraud, breach of contract and misrepresentation. Among the allegations made against the school and Singh is that they continued to recruit students despite knowing they could not provide the instruction as promised.

The students are seeking $2.2 million in refunds and punitive damages. The lawsuit was filed with the Merced County Superior Court, but the papers have not been served upon Singh because he hasn’t been located, according to attorney Palvir Shoker, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of the students.

A second set of 10 students has filed a similar lawsuit and is seeking $200,000. The lawsuit was filed by attorney Jeffrey Poindexter and claims that the students were directed to a fake ASA Web site where they could ostensibly keep track of how their tuition funds were being deducted. The complaints states: “This accounting system was set up to deceive and mislead the students. As soon as the students would make a tuition payment of $40,000, the defendants would spend all of the money. This allegation is premised upon the fact that the defendants have conceded they owe the refunds, but claim they have no money to pay the refunds…

“By immediately spending the entirety of a student’s tuition, without providing the promised flight training and education, the defendants either purposefully, recklessly or negligently began operating as a sort of ponzi scheme. Each new student’s tuition would go to pay the costs and expense of earlier enrolled students.”

Reny Kozman has previously blamed the school’s financial hardships on partners based in India, who she says stole the school’s money in her email to SecondCity last month.

Understanding the California Penal Code likely to be applicable in the ASA case

My analysis from the sideline

What occurred or reported to have occurred at ASA

1. It (ASA) failed to deliver flight training to its students as per the agreement
2. It failed to refund the unused tuition to the students when requested.
3. It operated in violation of numerous Federal, State and local regulations.
4. They (Prince & Reny; owners) lacked moral, professional and business fitness to run a fight school.
5. They defrauded students.
6. They defrauded local merchants.
7. They defrauded local governments
8. They defrauded federal government
9. They endangered the health and welfare of the students and their parents home.

Applicable California State Penal Code
□§154 Debtor fraudulently removing, conveying, or concealing property;

Every debtor who fraudulently removes his property or effects out of this state, or fraudulently sells, conveys, assigns or conceals his property with intent to defraud, hinder or delay his creditors of their rights,
claims or demands, is punishable by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding one year, or by fine not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both; provided, however, that where the property so removed or sold or conveyed, or assigned or concealed, consists of a stock in trade or a part thereof, of a value exceeding one hundred dollars, the offense shall be a felony and punishable as such.

□§155 Defendant or judgment debtor fraudulently removing, concealing, or disposing of personal
property sought to be recovered.

Every person against whom an action is pending, or against whom a judgment has been rendered for the recovery of any personal property, who fraudulently conceals, sells, or disposes of such property, with intent to hinder, delay, or defraud the person bringing such action or recovering such judgment, or with such intent the time of the commencement of such action or the rendering of such judgment, is punishable as provide in the proceeding section.

□§476a. Checks, drafts or orders on banks; insufficient funds; intent to defraud; punishment

Any person who willfully, with intent to defraud, makes or draws or utters or delivers any check, draft or order upon any bank or depositary, or person, or firm, or corporation, for the payment of money, knowing at the time of such making, drawing, uttering, or delivering that the maker or drawer or the corporation has not sufficient funds in, or credit with said bank or depositary for the payment of such check upon such funds then outstanding, in
Full upon its presentation is punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one year, or in the state prison.

□§484b. Diversion of funds received to obtain or pay for services, labor, materials or equipment

Any person who receives money for the purpose of obtaining services and wrongfully diverts the funds to a use other than that for which the funds were received, shall be guilty of a public offense and shall be punishable by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or by imprisonment in the state prison, or in the county jail not exceeding one year, or by both such fine and such imprisonment.

□§532 False pretenses; obtaining money, labor, or property; punishment

Every person who knowingly and designedly, by any false or fraudulent representation or pretense, defrauds any other person of money, labor, or property, whether real or personal, is punishable in the same manner and to the same extent as for larceny of the money or property so obtained.

□§537 Defrauding innkeepers, etc.

Any person who obtains any accommodations at apartment house, without paying therefore, with intent to defraud the proprietor or manager thereof, is guilty of a public offense punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for a term not more than one year, or in the state prison.

Now those are just few of the state penal codes that I came up with for the moment and by doing a little research on my own (I can’t afford a $250/hr lawyer for reading the same law books).

I haven ‘t touched in the areas of possible Federal statutes violation yet, here’re some of the applicable codes under the Title 18 of USC –Crimes and Criminal Procedures that could well apply to the ASA case on the Federal offense side for the feds to pursue.

□§31 Aircraft and Motor Vehicles
□§241 Civil Rights
□§371 Conspiracy
□§641 Embezzlement and Theft
□§1001 Fraud and False Statements
□§1231 Labor
□§1341 Mail Fraud
□§1421 Nationality and Citizenship
□§1821 Professions and Occupations
□§1951 Racketeering
□§2071 Records and Reports

You want me to go on?……yah thought so.

Most of the above offenses if not all are felony offences each carrying one or more years of imprisonment if convicted. In the ASA case, if the DA is successful in achieving even one criminal conviction, that will land over 100 years in jail time for those convicted. (each one count x number of victims/students and you get the figure)

What needed to achieve a conviction requires only two things like everything else in everyone’s life, desire and strong enough intention (will) to carry it out, the rest will follow.

So far all seems to be lacking at both the DA’s office and the Sheriff’s department of Merced County. If they need to bring in an aggressive outside prosecutor, I know the one from the East Coast who’s not so long ago decided to take an unscheduled retirement for some personal reasons . Hint…… last name begins with “S” and his last job was a state governor.
As far as I know he’s still unemployed at present.

Echo Yankee, over & out!

Open letter to the Sheriff and the District Attorney of the Merced County, California

My view from the sideline:

The Honorable Mark Razin, the Merced County Sheriff
The Honorable Larry Morse II, the District Attorney of the Merced County

In Re: American School of Aviation

Dear Messrs Razin and Morse:

Since the first news appeared in the Merced Sun-Star about a month ago related to the sudden closure of American School of Aviation at Castle Airport, I have been following the matter with my mixed emotion of sympathy and indignation.

From what has been reported by various media, the case appears to have an overwhelming elements of offenses to constitute a criminal fraud, yet no criminal charges have been filed to this day against the unscrupulous school owner(s) much to the public dismay, why?

ASA owners with Vijay Mallaya of Kingfisher Airlines
ASA owners with Vijay Mallaya of Kingfisher Airlines

In the follow up story appearing in the Merced Sun-Star on August 05, 2008, it was reported that the FBI assistance was being sought because your office/department couldn’t handle the forensic accounting needed (emphasis added). Please kindly explain this highfalutin legalese to the public in a layman’s term, and the reason why so.

You have all the evidence and prosecuting authority necessary to file the case right where you’re in the Merced County. Why look elsewhere by somehow suggesting with a specious notion that this is an international case involving foreign nationals and therefore out side of your jurisdiction. Why not proceed on your own without any further indecision irrespective of whether the feds assistance and cooperation on the case is forthcoming or not.

The most recent record of the FAA aircraft registry shows eighteen aircraft formally owned and registered to the debtor defendant changed hands earlier this week. (13 on 8/04, 5 on 8/05) This alone ipso facto constitutes a felony offense under the Penal Code§155.

There seems to exist ample evidence with sufficiency to bring forth criminal charges under but not limited to the following penal codes:

§155 Defendant or judgement debtor fraudulently removing, concealing, or disposing of personal
property sought to be recovered.
§476 (a) Checks, bank drafts insufficient funds; Intent to defraud
§484.b Diversion of funds received to obtain or pay for services, labor, materials or equipment
§532 False pretenses; obtaining money, labor or property
§573 Defrauding innkeepers, etc.

Having stated the above, I have read the following mission statement from the respective offices and while came away quite impressed with the lofty statements, it’s more than apparent that none of the goals stated therein have yet to be fulfilled as far as the American School of Aviation case is concerned.

Here’s your statement, Sheriff Razin.
“Our mission is to provide responsive, professional, and caring law enforcement service to all the people of Merced County. We will respond to call for service promptly, protect lives and property to the best of our abilities, initiate and maintain crime prevention programs, and apprehend criminal offenders.” –Sheriff Mark Razin-

And here’s the one from the DA’s office.
“The mission of the Merced County District Attorney’s Office is to seek justice by ensuring that victim’s rights and the public’s safety are our first priority through the fair, equal, vigorous, and efficient enforcement of the criminal laws.” – Merced County District Attorney’s Office –

It is my sincere hope that the elected high officials of the Merced County such as yourselves live up to the own mission statement for the good of the public without resorting to another “forensic accounting” bit.

Respectfully submitted.

Echo Yankee, ATP/A&P

Prince & Reny succeeded in selling 18 of the 30 aircrafts in last two days!

My observation from the sideline:

18 ASA Aircraft just changed hands in last two days.

A file photo of American School of Aviation in happier times
A file photo of American School of Aviation in happier times

FAA records indicate 13 ASA aircraft changed hands on August 04 2008 and 5 additional ASA aircraft changed hands on August 05, 2008.

While the students and other creditor’s lawyers are trying to secure the assets of ASA, Prince and Reny are moving fast and step ahead to evade from their reach. As shown in the following FAA records, the duo has succeeded in selling 18 of the 30 ASA aircraft thus far.

Considering the time required for the paper work process at the FAA office, all transactions were likely to be taken place and consummated at or around the end of June 2008. Based on this calculation, the transaction took place in the recent weeks won’t show up in the FAA record until sometime in September or October. It is quite possible that by now all the remaining aircraft changed hands as well.

Following 13 aircraft are now registered to:

Commercial Lending Resource, Inc.
2082 Michelson Dr., Suite 100
Irvine, CA 92612-1212

Cessna 152 N 25840
Cessna 152 N 4644Q
Cessna 152 N 48425
Cessna 172N N 1948F
Cessna 172N N 3318E
Cessna 172N N 4864D
Cessna 172N N 5488D
Cessna 172N N 6349D
Cessna 172N N 733AD
Cessna 172N N 733UG
Cessna 172N N 734MN
Cessna 172N N 734SV
Cessna 172N N 739BL

Following 5 aircraft are now registered to:

Spring Aviation
PO B ox 4120
Portland, OR 97208-4120

Cessna 152 N 4940
Cessna 152 N 68141
Cessna 152 N 757XY
Beech 76 N 111BV
Beech 76 N 6697L

12 remaining aircraft still registered to ASA

Cessna 152 N 48637
Cessna 152 N 94185
Cessna 152 N 64994
Cessna 172S N 1482M (A/C registration issued to Foreign Corporation)
Cessna 172N N 7352J
Diamond DA20C1 N 991CT
Diamond DA20C1 N 992CT
Piper PA28R200 N 15546
Piper PA28R180 N 7526J
Piper PA28140 N 15080
Piper PA28161 N 47389
Beech 76 N 7774T

I really hope the plaintiff’s lawyers all pull together to move the court for an issuance of immediate injunction against the debtor defendants from disposition of any business assets, and additionally seek a pre-judgement lien against all ASA aircraft and file the same with the FAA Aircraft Registry to prevent the debtor from selling the remaining airplanes.

Furthermore, move the court to nullify all the recent aircraft title transfers on the ground that such transfers were made with an actual intent to hinder, defraud, or delay creditors, and additionally on the ground of prior invalid registration.

Moreover, loge the criminal fraud charges against the owners of ASA with the Merced County Sheriff’s department immediately and move the Superior Court of California, County of Merced to issue an arrest warrant for the school owners to be taken into custody immediately.
Swift and aggressive actions are more than needed at this juncture.

Echo Yankee, over & out!

N1482M Cessna-172/A was flying this evening again.

My view from the sideline:

N1482M Cessna-172/A was flying this evening again. Is that you Prince? ……Didn’t think so.

(incidentally this is the only ASA aircraft that seems to be properly registered as Foreign Corporation on its registration certificate. For more details about the ASA aircraft registration, read my recent thread under the heading Splitting hairs on the ASA aircraft registration)

Dep. Hayward 18:26 PDT
ETA Lake Tahoe 18:51 PDT

http://flightaware.com/live/flight/N1482M

This is just the tip of the iceberg as the FlightAware can only track IFR traffic. All the rest of the ASA VFR flights are not shown up in the tracking system.

All indication points to a strong possibility that Prince and Reny and some of the ASA remnants are operating out of Hayward Airport and elsewhere other than Castle by themselves directly or leasing planes to other flight schools under the table to make few more quick dollars for themselves on their way out to disappearance.

I am sure some of the ASA students still remaining in the US are quite aware of those flight activities taking place at numerous GA airport locations but so far they all seem taciturn about this and heasitant to come forward to share the information for common good.
Am I the only one begins to wonder why? ……Humm.

Echo Yankee, over & out!

Splitting hairs on the ASA aircraft registration

My view from the sideline:

Synopsis:
American School of Aviation, Inc. is a California corporation with its president and other corporate officer(s) are not U.S. citizen.

Title 14 CFR Part 47 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) governs the requirement related to the civil aircraft registration in the US

Part 47.3 stipulates Registration required.
Part 47.5 defines Applicants.
Part 47.7 defines U.S. citizens and resident aliens with respect to civil aircraft registration.
Part 47.9 defines “Corporations not U.S. citizen”.
Part 47.9(f) stipulates thrice annual report requirement by the registrant to the FAA.

Analysis:
All ASA aircraft (30 in all) are currently registered under FAR Part 47.7 and issued aircraft registration certificate bearing “Corporation” instead of its true and factual status of its corporate entity as “Foreign Corporation”.
In the FAA AC Form 8050-1 Aircraft Registration Application, there is a specific box to be checked off for Non-citizen Corporation and provided along with “Certification” section for the applicant’s certification for a non-citizen corporation. If these sections were properly completed in the ASA aircraft registration application, all of its registration then should have been issued under Part 47.9 with the respective registration certificate bearing ”Foreign corporation”

Conclusion:
If ASA has made erroneous entry in its aircraft registration application and submitted to the FAA Aircraft Registry knowingly or not knowingly and obtained its registration certificates, then all of the ASA aircraft are not registered under Part 47.9 and not in compliance with Part 47.9(f) requirement. This ipso facto invalidates all of its registrations under FAR 47.41(a) (ii) and requires ASA to surrender all of its invalidated registration certificate in accordance with FAR 47.43 (b).

All ASA aircraft are to be grounded immediately if its current registration is found to be invalid on the foregoing premise stated. Aircraft operation without having required documents on board, aircraft registration certificate is one of among them is a Federal code violation subject to FAA enforcement action including an imposition of a civil penalty for each and every violations committed. If you fly twice with an invalid registration, that’s two counts of violation and the flight log and pilot’s logbook to show that for the record easily later on. If any of the ASA students are still flying the ASA airplane, you should think twice before stepping into the plane next time.

Well, it sure beats me why this fundamental infraction of the FAR evaded the FAA inspector’s repeated scrutiny for so long. I guess sometimes things can be seen better when you step back a little and observe them from distance. The old saying “. Don’t Miss the Forest for the Trees.” rings so true here.

I could see things pretty well from where I stand in the sideline.
Till next time,

Echo Yankee, over & out!