Sheriff’s Deputies Arrest Employee of Travolta-Owned Aviation Company

Florida pilots allegedly embezzled nearly $800,000. No bond issued for flight-risk defendant.

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office in Florida arrested a man and is searching for a second for allegedly using an aviation fuel pricing scheme to embezzle nearly $800,000 from a company led by actor John Travolta. Jean Paul Lacruz Romero, a pilot who was arrested, and fellow pilot Jorden Coursey, who is still at large, are suspected of defrauding Travolta’s Constellation Productions business out of about $785,050 from a period between October 2021 and July 2023.

Both pilots were employed by Constellation and issued company credit cards to purchase fuel and other expenses, according to the police report. A coworker contacted the police after he became concerned about how much the business was paying for fuel.

A forensic examination revealed that the pilots used their company card to purchase fuel until October 2021, the police report detailed. After that point, the pilots would pay for fuel and expenses purchased through an organization named Lux Fuels, which the pilots had called a discount fuel brokerage. However, when the coworker researched Lux Fuels, he found that the business was registered to Paola Alvarez, wife of Lacruz Romero.

The pilots allegedly used World Fuel cards issued to Lux Fuels at the point of purchase, and Lux Fuels would then invoice Constellation for the cost of the fuel and other services. An accounting review of the invoices from Lux and the actual FBOs revealed that the charges from the brokerage were inflated either through an incorrect report of gallons purchased, a change in price per gallon, or both. In addition, Lux Fuels invoices contained administration fees.

Further investigation revealed that a portion of the funds in the Lux Fuels account were transferred to an account held by JPL Aviation, which is managed by Lacruz Romero, the police report said. One sum matched a purchase amount for a Cessna aircraft registered to JPL Aviation. Money was also alleged to have been transferred to the second pilot, Coursey, either directly or from an Air Jorden account.

Lacruz Romero is being held without bond with a court date expected in April. Both pilots were fired from Constellation.