NEW YORK – A Long Island firm sold tens of millions of dollars in Chinese-made surveillance and other sensitive security equipment to customers, including the U.S. military to use on aircraft carriers, by falsely claiming the goods were manufactured in America, federal prosecutors said Thursday.
The fraud that prosecutors allege by Aventura Technologies Inc. raised “a grave concern” over cyber security, U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue said.
Though there was no allegation of breaches involving the Chinese government, emails and other evidence from the investigation showed “individuals in China were well aware of what was going on,” Donoghue said.
The equipment sold by Aventura “as purportedly U.S.-made has been installed on dozens of Army, Navy and Air Force bases, Department of Energy facilities and, among other places, on Navy aircraft carriers,” prosecutors said in the criminal complaint. Of the $88 million Aventura made since 2010, $20 million came from government contracts promising only U.S.-made products, they said.
Prosecutors accused the company of a cover-up involving systematically relabeling its merchandise to say it was made at its U.S. plant. 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.
Last year, Cabasso emailed an employee of a Chinese manufacturer stressing the need to take steps to make sure its products couldn't be traced, prosecutors said. He wrote that “the biggest problem” was that customers might notice the company's initials on circuit boards and asked them to conceal them, they said.