Accusations of fraud were brought against Aventura Technologies and its owner following the suspected selling of monitoring equipment to the US Government with known security vulnerabilities.
Based in Commack, New York, the company that sells services like vision cameras, CCTV and processing is key to Thursday’s criminal complaint.
According to the United States Department of Justice (DoJ), Aventura knowingly marketed fragile equipment to both government and private clients, and also falsely claimed that its products were made in the United States, when, actually, they were produced and imported illegally from China.
Since 2006, the suspected scheme has been operational. For more als a decade consumers have been lied to, prosecutors claim, which resulted in use of military surveillance equipment with “documented cyber vulnerabilities” from China— while Long Island continued to believe that everything was finished.
The DoJ refers to Aventura and seven current and former employees. Frances Cabasso, the founder of Aventura, Jack Cabasso’s wife and CEO, Jonathan Lasker, Christine Lavonne Lazarus and Eduard Matulik, current employee Wayne Marino and Alan Schwartz, a retired staff member, are appointed prosecutors.
Further investigate the suspected misconduct, police forces seized and labelled shipments from China to the headquarters of Aventura. One of those products, a Navy-ordered $13,500 laser-enhanced night-visibility camera, was tracked from China to a shipping facility in Jamaica and then in Aventura before being shipped weeks later to New London’s Naval Submarine Base in Groton, Connecticut.
To cover the shipping, the defendants allegedly have taken steps to erase Chinese markings from circuit boards, to delete the original producer’s name from database communications and have used images to invoke a view of US production lines, though they actually came from Hangzhou, China.
Frances Cabasso was falsely depicted in order to have a contract from the United States government that was reserved for women’s companies as the owner and operator of Aventura, but it was the husband who actually managed the company.
Fiscal prosecutors say that over the past decade Aventura has earned more than $88 million and produced at least $20 million from federal contracts.
“Aventura not only fraudulently disregarded its customers, but exposed them to extreme, proven cyber security threats, and created a network that permitted hostile foreign government access to some of the most sensitive facilities of the state,” the DoJ said.
On Thursday morning, six of the suspects were arrested.
The Cabassos are loaded with cash and the property, including a 70-foot luxury yacht and 3 million dollars deposited into 12 bank accounts, have been seized. Both suspects are charged with unlawfully importing wire and bank fraud and conspiracy.
“The arrests today reveal the accused’s blatant disappointments and fraud schemes and will face serious consequences on putting the falsified’ Made in the USA ‘ labels on goods that our armed forces and other fragile government facilities relied on,” commented U.S. attorney Richard Donoghue.