NY Firm Charged With Selling Chinese Surveillance Goods as US-Made to Military
The illicit scheme allegedly started to unravel after security experts handled images churned out by newly-purchased US Air Force body cameras, and a logo of the Chinese Ministry of Public Security was spotted on the devices.
A Long Island company is alleged to have sold tens of millions of dollars' worth of Chinese-manufactured surveillance goods to clients that include the US military, as ones that were falsely claimed to have been produced in America, per federal prosecutors.
The fraud purportedly done by Aventura Technologies Inc. triggered "a grave concern" over cyber security, US Attorney Richard Donoghue said adding that though there were no registered breaches by Beijing, emails and other evidence cited in the criminal complaint indicated that "individuals in China were well aware of what was going on".
The merchandise made in China, but systematically relabelled as if it had been made at a US plant, "has been installed on dozens of Army, Navy and Air Force bases, Department of Energy facilities and, among other places, on Navy aircraft carriers", the criminal complaint reads.
Federal government contracts had accounted for $20 million of Aventura's budget, with the company having made a total of $88 million since 2010.
Aventura was also accused of circulating a picture featuring Aventura executive, Jack Cabasso, showing off the company's assembly line, which appeared to be an image of workers at a Chinese facility.
Last year, Cabasso emailed an employee of a Chinese manufacturer asserting measures should be taken to ensure that the real manufacturer could not be traced. He stressed "the biggest problem" was that customers might notice the company's credentials on circuit boards and requested that they conceal them.
According to the complaint, the scheme started to reveal itself after "the innovative designer, developer, and manufacturer of security hardware" - as it calls itself on its website - sold 25 body cameras to the US Air Force.
As security experts downloaded the images, they accidentally spotted a Chinese Ministry of Public Security logo on the devices, per prosecutors.
Separately, a software analysis reportedly found indications that the camera's manufacturer in China "had been aware that the US Air Force was the intended end user of the camera".
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