5 Charged in $1M Fraud Scheme Involving Aircraft Equipment, N.J. Authorities Say

April 14, 2022

Five New Jersey residents purporting to sell airline ground support equipment and hydraulic jacks stole more than $1 million after taking payments from businesses and never supplying the items, authorities said.

The group claimed to be offering the specialized equipment for sale via the internet, the state Office of the Attorney General said Thursday.

After getting paid by companies in the U.S. and internationally, the group withdrew funds from their own accounts or moved money to an account controlled by co-conspirators between Feb. 3, 2017 and March 28, 2022, the Attorney General’s office said.

Four of the five were arrested March 31.

Additional details about the scheme were not outlined in criminal complaints.

The following four are charged with conspiracy and receiving stolen property.

  • Antonio P. Signo, also know as “Tony Demetro,” 35, of the Somerset section of Franklin
  • Sonny Signo, 54, of Elizabeth
  • Eddie S. Signo, 28, of the Iselin section of Woodbridge
  • Champagne Thompson, 29, of Iselin

Anthony Signo is also charged with theft by deception and money laundering. His attorney, Verona-based Alfonse De Meo declined to comment when reached by phone Thursday.

Eddie Signo’s attorney, Elizabeth-based attorney Michael B. Campagna said it was premature to draw conclusions.

“It’s far too early to comment on it,” he said. “Discovery is being conducted and we’re doing our own investigation.” Eddie Signo is scheduled for a pre-indictment hearing on May 13, Campagna said.

Campagna said he didn’t know if the Signos are related.

A fifth person Cindy K. Drake, 36, of the Somerset section of Franklin, was not arrested — she was charged with theft by deception.

Sonny Signo’s attorney couldn’t immediately be reached. Attorney information for Thompson and Drake were not available.

The Attorney General’s office didn’t immediately say if or how the three Signos are related.

Jeff Goldman may be reached at jeff_goldman@njadvancemedia.com.

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