A Commack-based company imported Chinese-made surveillance technology with known cyber-security vulnerabilities, slapped "Made in The USA" labels on the products, and sold them to to the US military for years, federal prosecutors alleged.
Six of the seven defendants - Jack Cabasso, Frances Cabasso, Jonathan Lasker, Christine Lavonne Lazarus, Eduard Matulik and Alan Schwartz - were arrested early Thursday and made their first appearances later in the day in Federal District Court in Brooklyn.
U.S. Attorney Richard P. Donoghue plans to discuss details at a news conference Thursday in Brooklyn. Check back to Daily Voice for updates.More news: Cyclone Bulbul: Operations at Kolkata airport suspended
According to the complaint, Aventura sometimes sold Chinese imports with false "Made in the USA" labels already affixed or displayed on packaging.
Despite all this, prosecutors allege he attempted to rat out other government contractors for running the exact same scheme as his company.
"The defendants falsely claimed for years that their surveillance and security equipment was manufactured on Long Island, padding their pockets with money from lucrative contracts without regard for the risk to our country's national security posed by secretly peddling made-in-China electronics with known cyber vulnerabilities", said Richard P. Donoghue, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of NY.
When customers asked for reassurances that Aventura's cameras were made in America, company executives said they were manufactured at a factory in NY.More news: Apple releases another iOS 13 update to fix background app issues
Seven current and former Aventura employees, including Cabasso and other members of its top management, were charged with conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud. He said the investigation was continuing, and that the authorities were looking for private-sector customers who bought Aventura products. "In fact, Aventura does not manufacture anything in the United States". Authorities do not believe the government's cybersecurity is a risk as a result of the crimes.
In a memo seeking to detain Mr. Cabasso in custody until trial, prosecutors portrayed him as a serial con man with a long criminal history. He had deep business relationships in China and used a network of shell companies to launder the millions of dollars he made, the prosecution memo said.
The pair allegedly lied about the arrangement to gain access to government contracts reserved for women-owned businesses.
Founded in 1999, Aventura describes itself on its website as a "true "single-source" manufacturer" providing security hardware, software and peripheral products to government, military and enterprise customers.More news: Deadly clashes erupt in Iraq despite call for calm
Law enforcement also executed search warrants at the Northport home of Jack and Frances Cabasso and seized their 70-foot luxury yacht. He wrote that "the biggest problem" was that customers might notice the company's initials on circuit boards and asked them to hide them, they said.