LI company busted for illegally selling Chinese-made products to USA military

Clay Curtis
November 10, 2019

Seven people associated with a Long Island, N.Y., security technology firm are facing charges of selling Chinese equipment with known security flaws to the US military and claiming the equipment was made in the United States.

The U.S. attorney's office for eastern NY says seven current or former employees of the company are also charged.

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.

The surveillance cameras and other equipment that Aventura Technologies sold for years to the United States military looked like solid American products, packaged in boxes with "Made in the U.S.A." labels and stars-and-stripes logos.

In complete the corporate collected $88 million in gross sales with each private and non-private sector shoppers since November 2010, prosecutors say.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested six people Thursday - including one person who posed as the company's CEO to allegedly gain better access to government contracts - on charges of fraud, money laundering and unlawful importation, according to a press release. But in reality, Aventura itself was doing business with the same manufacturer, federal agents claimed.

The Aventura products bought by government agencies included night-vision and body cameras, automated turnstiles and other security equipment, prosecutors said. Because of Cabasso's use of shell companies, real estate transactions on behalf of third-party beneficiaries, and other money laundering techniques aimed at obfuscation and concealment, the government does not have a comprehensive understanding of the nature and location of all Cabasso's financial assets, the paper said.

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In addition to the arrests and arraignments, prosecutors say they have executed search warrants at Aventura's headquarters and at the home of Jack and Frances Cabasso.

"This software that was then put into USA systems was known to have vulnerabilities that would allow others to access those networks", Mr. Donoghue said. Authorities do not believe the government's cybersecurity is a risk as a result of the crimes.

The scheme's mastermind, prosecutors said, was Mr. Cabasso, the 61-year-old owner of Aventura and a resident of Northport. Agents also seized $3 million dollars from several bank accounts.

According to the Justice Department, federal investigators uncovered the scheme by intercepting the shipments Chinese manufacturers sent to Aventura, and tracking their eventual arrival to the company's government customers.

Mr. Cabasso was also accused of making false representations that his wife was Aventura's chief executive so that the company could obtain government contracts set aside specifically for small businesses owned by women.

The defendants had gone to lengths to hide any footprint of the products Chinese origin, prosecutors said, including requiring a Chinese supplier to erase its initials from the product's circuit board.

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