Charges: Chinese surveillance goods illegally sold to US

Charges: Chinese surveillance goods illegally sold to US

"As alleged, 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", US Attorney Richard Donoghue said in announcing the arrests.

Aventura Technologies Inc., founder Jack Cabasso and six others are accused of defrauding customers including military agencies by falsely claiming that it manufactured security cameras and other products in the us when they were actually imported from China.

"In reality the only things that were made in the United States were the lies that Aventura sold to its victims", said William Sweeney, the Federal Bureau of Investigation assistant director in charge, when announcing the bust. It also circulated a photo that an Aventura executive, Jack Cabasso, showed the company's assembly line, but was actually an image of workers in a Chinese facility, the complaint said.

"Aventura imports its products from other manufacturers, primarily manufacturers located in [China], at times with false 'Made in the U.S.A.' labels already affixed to the products or displayed on their packaging", a Justice Department court filing said.

Aventura Technologies Inc. has sold at least $88 million in technology - such as walk-through metal detectors and network-linked surveillance cameras and turnstiles - to customers including to the United States military, since November 2010.

Officials say Aventura's actions endangered military personnel on U.S. Navy ships and military bases by selling them Chinese products with known cybersecurity vulnerabilities.

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The U.S. attorney's office for eastern NY says seven current or former employees of the company are also charged. "So obviously when you have Chinese-made cameras with PRC software loaded into them ... that causes great concern for our national security".

The Cabassos have also been charged with laundering the monetary proceeds of the alleged fraudulent schemes, according to the press release.

Investigators caught wind of Aventura's scheme through several clues, Donoghue said. Then a year ago, a service member on an Air Force base noticed that an Aventura body camera displayed Chinese characters on the screen.

The provenance of the gadgets weren't the only lies investigators found, prosecutors allege.

Messages left for the Commack, New York-based company and for James Branden, Cabasso's lawyer, weren't immediately returned. Six of the seven were charged today in a NY federal district court. He was convicted of a handful of crimes relating to fraud, grand larceny, and corruption, among others, dating back to 1982. The company made approximately $20.7 million in sales to the USA since last year's end.

Purported firm homeowners Jack and Frances Cabasso and 5 different present and former staff have been arrested on a slate of fees together with a money-laundering conspiracy, wire fraud and illegal importation.

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