Five Charged in Aviation Equipment Fraud Case

New Jersey attorney general says group pretended to make sales, stole payments.

The New Jersey Attorney General’s office has charged five people in connection with an alleged internet fraud scheme involving the sale of aircraft ground-support equipment and spare parts.

The defendants allegedly pretended to sell the specialized aviation equipment to companies between February 3, 2017, and March 28, 2022. Under the scheme, the accused waited for buyers to deposit payments for the equipment in bank accounts and then “removed the funds via a series of cash withdrawals, or transfers to another identified co-conspirator’s account,” Acting Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin said in a statement. 

The companies trying to make the purchases never received the equipment and parts.

The defendants allegedly received more than $1 million from businesses operating in the U.S. and internationally through the fraudulent venture.

The four were arrested on March 31 and charged with the following offenses:

Antonio P. Signo, 35, of Somerset, N.J.

  • second-degree conspiracy
  • second-degree theft by deception
  • second-degree receiving stolen property
  • second-degree money laundering

Sonny Signo, 54, of Elizabeth, N.J.

  • second-degree conspiracy
  • second-degree receiving stolen property

Eddie S. Signo, 28, of Iselin, N.J.

  • second-degree conspiracy
  • second-degree receiving stolen property

Champagne Thompson, 29, of Iselin, N.J.

  • second-degree conspiracy
  • third-degree receiving stolen property

Co-defendant Cindy K. Drake, 36, of Somerset, N.J., was charged on a complaint-summons for second-degree receiving stolen property in connection with the internet scheme. Antonio Signo is detained pending trial in the Somerset County Jail. All others were released, the attorney general’s office said.

The charges resulted from an investigation by the New Jersey’s Division of Criminal Justice Financial and Cyber Crimes Bureau after it received a referral from the Scottsdale, Arizona, Police Department.

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