SOUTHERN DISTRICT, Fla. --
Four individuals and a company were charged in a five-count indictment in connection with their operation of Jet Link, Inc., an aircraft parts broker based in Margate, Florida.
Ariana Fajardo Orshan, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Wendell W. Palmer, Special Agent-in-Charge, Air Force Office of Special Investigations - Office of Procurement Fraud, Detachment 5, Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Ga., Frank Robey, Director, U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command’s Major Procurement Fraud Unit (CID-MPFU), John F. Khin, Special Agent in Charge, Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), Southeast Field Office and Mark Selby, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), Miami Field Office made the announcement.
Robert Cantone, 73, of Coral Springs, Alex Cantone, 41, of Sunrise, Brenda Snelgrove, 58, of Coconut Creek, Ronald Burns, 45, of Hollywood, and Jet Link, Inc, operating out of Margate, Florida were charged in the indictment (Case No. 18-CR-60329). R. Cantone, A. Cantone, Snelgrove and Burns have been arrested. R. Cantone and Snelgrove had their initial appearances in Miami. A. Cantone had his initial hearing Dec. 13, 2018, in the Northern District of Texas. Burns remains a fugitive. Each defendant faces charges of conspiracy to commit aircraft parts fraud and aircraft parts fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 38. If convicted on any one of the counts alleged in the indictment, the defendants each face a maximum statutory sentence of up to ten years in prison, and Jet Link, Inc., faces a fine of up to $10,000,000.
"The Air Force Office of Special Investigations, along with its law enforcement partners, has, and always will, aggressively identify and investigative anyone who attempts to commit aircraft part fraud and put our nation's warfighters at risk," said SAIC Palmer.
The case was handled out of AFOSI Procurement Fraud Det. 5, Operating Location-D, Patrick Air Force Base, Fla.
According to conduct alleged in the indictment, R. Cantone, A. Cantone, Snelgrove and Burns, would unjustly enrich themselves by fraudulently winning contracts for the supply of military aircraft parts to the Defense Logistics Agency, by supplying the DLA with false certifications on their electronic bid quotations, wherein they stated JET LINK “currently possesses the material,” and that the parts were “inspected for correct part number and for absence of corrosion or any obvious defects,” were “in its original package,” and were “new, unused, and not of such age or so deteriorated as to impair its usefulness or safety,” when in fact such parts were not purchased until after the contracts had been awarded by DLA. These parts were thereafter shipped to the Department of Defense, and were often either non-conforming or substandard.
“This indictment and the related arrests demonstrate that the U.S. Attorney’s Office remains committed to protecting the integrity of the defense procurement process,” said Orshan. “We will continue to prosecute those individuals who choose to manipulate the system for their financial gain.”
Orshan commended the investigative efforts Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Army CID-MPFU, DCIS and ICE-HIS. Assistant U.S. Attorney Marc Anton is prosecuting the case.
“These arrests represent the unwavering commitment by DCIS and our investigative partners to ensure that the Defense procurement system is protected from unscrupulous contractors who choose illicit profits over quality and integrity. DCIS will pursue anyone who uses fraud and deception to undermine our critical warfighting missions or compromise safety in DoD programs and activities," said SA Khin.
An indictment is a charging instrument containing accusations. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
“Defrauding the government and providing substandard components intended for use in U.S. military aircraft puts our service members in harm’s way,” said SAIC Selby. “HSI will continue to work with our partners at the Department of Defense and aggressively target individuals and companies engaged in this type of criminal act.”
Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or at http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.