Pilot Khamraj Lall has been ordered to forfeit his private jet and over half of a million USD to the United States (US) government, as well as serve one year in jail for smuggling bulk cash in/out of the US.
US District Judge Jay A. Garcia-Gregory, imposed the judgement on Tuesday on Lall who had pleaded guilty last year to the count of bulk cash smuggling.
The matter which was called to the Courts on several occasions had been postponed a number of times, and two days ago Justice Garcia-Gregory sentenced Lall to 12 months in jail.
He will serve the stipulated time in Fort Dix, New Jersey, after which he will be on supervised release for three years and not be allowed to leave the judicial district without the permission of the court or his probation officer.
Lall was also fined US$3100 and forfeited his interest in a jet – a 1988 Fixed Wing Multi-Engine Aircraft, Israel Aircraft Industries, Model Number 1124, Serial Number 441, FAA Registration N822QL – as well as all related aircraft maintenance log books consisting of airframe, power plant and engine, and flight logbooks.
Additionally, the pilot was also ordered to forfeit US$620,588 which is said to be the cash that was being smuggled in the jet at the time of his arrest.
In San Juan, Puerto Rico on November 22, 2014 during a refuelling stop en route to Guyana, Lall and two other persons (another pilot and his father) arrived at the Luis Munoz International Airport, San Juan on a private aircraft. He was the co-pilot of the aircraft.
They told Customs officials that they had stopped for refuelling purposes and would be departing immediately for Guyana. However, it was explained that an outbound inspection of the aircraft would be performed.
The trio was told of the currency reporting requirements and Lall and his father declared US$5,000 and the pilot declared US$60.
However, due to discrepancies regarding the maintenance with the aircraft, in violation of aviation regulations the aircraft was grounded.
Lall then varied his declaration stating that he had US$7,000, however, as officials continued the search, a sniffer dog alerted them to the presence of a bundle of currency, wrapped in plastic bags and a blanket under the exit row seat.
When approached, Lall stated that it was US$150,000 which constituted proceeds from his business and that he had forgotten that the money was on the plane hence not declaring it.
As the search continued, officials discovered a black suitcase inside of a compartment next to the engines which contained several black garbage bags with the currency totalling almost half of a million USD.
Lall then claimed ownership for the money and he was subsequently arrested and charged.