video surveillance camera

Security Tech Company Raided, Charged With Selling Chinese-Made Equipment to Federal Agencies

Seven current and former employees at Aventura Technologies are facing federal charges for falsely claiming their products were manufactured in the U.S.

A New York-based security technology company and seven current and former senior employees have been charged with fraud, money laundering and illegal importation of Chinese-manufactured equipment, the Justice Department announced on Thursday.

The headquarters of Aventura Technologies was raided on Thursday after federal agents arrested senior executives, current and former employees, and the owners of the company, Jack Cabasso and his wife Frances Cabasso. The raid on Long Island involved dozens of investigators who hauled away containers of equipment from the facility, NBC News reported.

All seven Aventura employees were charged with selling Chinese-made equipment that they claimed was made in the U.S. to clients that included the U.S. Air Force, the Navy and the Department of Energy. The surveillance equipment had “known cybersecurity vulnerability to government and private customers,” according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.

 

 

“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,” U.S. Attorney Richard P. Donoghue said in a statement.

Donoghue added: “They will face serious consequences for slapping phony ‘Made in the U.S.A.’ labels on products that our armed forces and other sensitive government facilities depended upon.”

The scheme had been ongoing since 2006, seven years after Aventura opened in 1999, according to the attorney’s office. The company offered a variety of security services and products, ranging from video surveillance management and facial recognition software to turnstiles and body scanners.

Four of the employees were also charged with defrauding the government by claiming that Frances Cabasso was the owner and operator of the company. While Jack Cabasso’s official title was managing director, he was Aventura’s de facto owner, not his wife, according to the federal complaint.

The company said that Frances was the owner so Aventura could obtain access to “valuable government contracts reserved for women-owned businesses,” according to the attorney’s office press release. The Cabassos are also charged with laundering the monetary proceeds of the schemes.

Six defendants were arrested on Thursday morning, and the government has frozen approximately $3 million in 12 financial accounts containing proceeds from the defendants.

“Greed is at the heart of this scheme, a reprehensible motive when the subjects in this case allegedly put into question the security of men and women who don uniforms each day to protect our nation,” FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney said in a statement. “There is no mistaking the cyber vulnerabilities created when this company sold electronic surveillance products made in [China], and then using those items in our government agencies and the branches of our armed forces.”

The Security Industry Association, of which Aventura is a member, issued a statement Thursday evening saying that SIA finds the charges "very serious" and represents business practices that SIA "does not condone." 

"SIA strongly encourages its members to operate ethically and comply with all U.S. laws and regulations," the association said. "The SIA Board of Directors has begun to review these charges and the status of Aventura’s membership in SIA."

About the Author

Haley Samsel is an Associate Content Editor for the Infrastructure Solutions Group at 1105 Media.

Featured

  • Maximizing Your Security Budget This Year

    The Importance of Proactive Security Measures: 4 Stories of Regret

    We all want to believe that crime won’t happen to us. So, some business owners hope for the best and put proactive security measures on the back burner, because other things like growth, attracting new customers, and meeting deadlines all seem more pressing. Read Now

  • Enhanced Situation Awareness

    Did someone break into the building? Maybe it is just an employee pulling an all-nighter. Or is it an actual perpetrator? Audio analytics, available in many AI-enabled cameras, can add context to what operators see on the screen, helping them validate assumptions. If a glass-break detection alert is received moments before seeing a person on camera, the added situational awareness makes the event more actionable. Read Now

  • Transformative Advances

    Over the past decade, machine learning has enabled transformative advances in physical security technology. We have seen some amazing progress in using machine learning algorithms to train computers to assess and improve computational processes. Although such tools are helpful for security and operations, machines are still far from being capable of thinking or acting like humans. They do, however, offer unique opportunities for teams to enhance security and productivity. Read Now

  • Computers Beginning to Come Back Online After CrowdStrike Caused Crash Friday

    Computers around the world are beginning to come back online after a defective update to Windows machines from cybersecurity provider CrowdStrike Friday affected almost 9 million machines. Read Now

Featured Cybersecurity

New Products

  • Automatic Systems V07

    Automatic Systems V07

    Automatic Systems, an industry-leading manufacturer of pedestrian and vehicle secure entrance control access systems, is pleased to announce the release of its groundbreaking V07 software. The V07 software update is designed specifically to address cybersecurity concerns and will ensure the integrity and confidentiality of Automatic Systems applications. With the new V07 software, updates will be delivered by means of an encrypted file. 3

  • Compact IP Video Intercom

    Viking’s X-205 Series of intercoms provide HD IP video and two-way voice communication - all wrapped up in an attractive compact chassis. 3

  • Camden CM-221 Series Switches

    Camden CM-221 Series Switches

    Camden Door Controls is pleased to announce that, in response to soaring customer demand, it has expanded its range of ValueWave™ no-touch switches to include a narrow (slimline) version with manual override. This override button is designed to provide additional assurance that the request to exit switch will open a door, even if the no-touch sensor fails to operate. This new slimline switch also features a heavy gauge stainless steel faceplate, a red/green illuminated light ring, and is IP65 rated, making it ideal for indoor or outdoor use as part of an automatic door or access control system. ValueWave™ no-touch switches are designed for easy installation and trouble-free service in high traffic applications. In addition to this narrow version, the CM-221 & CM-222 Series switches are available in a range of other models with single and double gang heavy-gauge stainless steel faceplates and include illuminated light rings. 3