On the morning of July 7, local time, a group of U.S. federal agents raided a technology company in Long Island, New York, and arrested a group of executives and employees for allegedly selling surveillance and security equipment known as “Made in America” to the U.S. military, but the equipment was actually made in China.
The company, called Aventura Technologies, was founded in 1999 to supply security hardware, software and peripheral products to the U.S. government, military and enterprises, and describes itself as a “true single-source manufacturer.” Since November 2010, the company has earned more than $88 million, of which more than $20 million is under federal government contracts.
Court documents show that Aventura falsely claimed that “Made in the United States” of Chinese products included at least one night vision camera delivered to the U.S. Navy’s New London submarine base in Connecticut, 25 body cameras for security personnel at the U.S. Air Force Base, and a revolving door at a U.S. Department of Energy facility in Tennessee.
U.S. federal prosecutors say Aventura has been implementing the program since 2006 to sell “known cyber security vulnerabilities” to government and other customers.
Aventura surveillance camera siday with “Made in China” written on the box by U.S. federal prosecutors
“For years, ” U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue said in a statement, “Over the years, The defendants have been falsely claiming that their surveillance and security equipment was made on Long Island, that they used lucrative contracts to cover their pockets while ignoring national security risks and secretly peddling Chinese-made electronics with ‘known cyber vulnerabilities’. “
“There’s no question that this company is selling electronic surveillance products made in China, and when our government agencies and military branches use them, we created a network vulnerability,” said William Sweeney, assistant director of the FBI. “
Screenshot of U.S. Department of Justice press release
Lt. Tim Pietrack, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy, said the equipment involved would be removed and replaced, and that none of the equipment purchased from Aventura was currently on the warship.
“There is no national security risk to the equipment purchased. Pietrak said.
They also purchased six CCTV cameras from Aventura for use on a naval supply ship, according to a U.S. Navy official.
Screenshot of Aventura’s website
On the morning of July 7, agents from the Fbi, Customs, The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and other offices of the inspector general went to Aventura headquarters to execute a search warrant.
Dozens of investigators were involved in the raid, as containers with equipment had to be towed away for inspection, and trucks and other law enforcement vehicles could be seen at the scene.
Video Screenshot: U.S. Federal Agents Search For Aventura
Earlier in the day, six current and former executives and employees of Aventura were arrested, including Jack Cabasso, the company’s “de facto owner”, and his wife, Frances Cabasso, the company’s chief executive. Authorities also seized a 70-foot yacht they owned.
Francis Cabaso is being released on $1 million bail, Jack Cabasso remains in custody, four others arrested are released on $250,000 bail each, and one defendant is expected to turn himself in on Aug.
Video screenshot: People arrested