The Long Island Company Supplied Chinese-Made Surveillance Equipment to U.S. Government and Private Customers While Falsely Claiming its Products Were “Made in U.S.A.”
Aventura Technologies, based out of Long Island, New York, was just busted by the government after allegedly having fraudulently sold security gear to the U.S. military for years, racking up millions in federal contract money.
According to Aventura’s website, which as of November 12 is still up and running, the company claimed to be a “true single-source manufacturer providing end-to-end hardware and software solutions.”
Some of these hardware solutions included ground-based radar, turnstiles, and closed-circuit television systems, all of which the company claimed were manufactured in America. Between 2007 and 2018, Aventura reportedly supplied various branches of the U.S. military with over $20 million dollars of said equipment.
From November 2010 to the present day, it’s estimated that Aventura pulled in over $88 million in sales to both the government and the private sector.
The sting that eventually brought down Aventura was a few years in the making, including an anonymous tip in 2017, and the discovery of Chinese lettering on a body camera by Air Force personnel the following year.
It was soon determined that the majority of the hardware sold by Aventura to the government was likely produced in China and illegally imported, with most of the equipment they sold was scrubbed clean of any markings that would have identified their national origin, or were falsely labeled with “Made in the USA” stickers.
This immediately presented a critical cybersecurity and data-incursion issue, as electronic hardware placed on military installations could be remotely tampered with or hacked into by Chinese intelligence-gathering assets.
Before being caught, the company’s managing director, Jack Cabasso, reportedly complained about competitors doing what he would later be charged with — procuring and selling foreign gear to the government from vendors that were known to be affiliated with the Chinese government — while quietly doing the same thing.
Cabasso, his wife Frances, who was listed as Aventura’s primary owner and operator allegedly to help secure contracts earmarked only for women-owned businesses, and five other employees were charged with a slew of crimes including laundering the millions they received in contracts from the government, unlawful importation, and conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud.
Aventura’s main facility and a 70-foot luxury yacht, allegedly purchased with the money the Cabassos gained from their activities, were seized by the government, in addition to freezing over $3 million spread between 12 financial accounts.
Interestingly enough, this isn’t Jack Cabasso’s first trip to court, with court records indicating multiple convictions for corruption, fraud, and larceny dating back to 1982, resulting in years of jail time for some of his crimes.
The extent of the impact on operational security regarding Aventura’s illicit sales to the military is yet to be determined.