Commack, N.Y.-based Aventura Technologies and seven of its current and former employers – including founder Jack Cabasso were charged in Brooklyn federal court today for defrauding customers.
Authorities claim the company, which counts the U.S. federal government among its customers, sold surveillance and security equipment manufactured in China even while claiming the devices were made domestically and raising security risks by hawking equipment with a “known cybersecurity vulnerability.”
“Aventura not only defrauded its customers but also exposed them to serious known cybersecurity risks,” according U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue at a Thursday press conference.
The 20-year-old company serves the U.S. military and as well as other government agencies and private sector organizations. It long billed its products as U.S.-made but federal prosecutors said the reality was quite different. Instead of manufacturing its equipment in a Long Island facility, the company procured it from China and then modified products to make it seem they were American made.
“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,” Donoghue said in a Justice Department release.
Agents from various agencies showed up with a search warrant at Aventura’s Commack headquarters Thursday and seized records, equipment and even a boat owned by Cabasso and his wife.
“There is no mistaking the cyber vulnerabilities created when this company sold electronic surveillance products made in the PRC, and then using those items in our government agencies and the branches of our armed forces,” said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney, who said greed was the motivation behind the scheme. “I cannot stress enough that we will do everything we can to search out and stop any other company willing to cut corners and pocket profits that endanger the lives of Americans, and make this country less safe.”