A Long Island firm might have exposed service members to cyber risks by selling them Chinese security cameras and claiming they were American-made
Federal prosecutors Thursday charged a Long Island company, its chief executive and other employees with fraudulently passing off Chinese-made surveillance and security equipment as American-made and selling it to the U.S. government — potentially exposing the military and federal agencies to cybersecurity surveillance and attack.
Commack-based Aventura Technologies Inc., and seven of its current and former employees, ran the scheme that dated to 2006, netting some $88 million in sales, including $20 million in government contracts in the last nine years, authorities said.
The Chinese-manufactured equipment included network surveillance cameras imported into the United States through Kennedy Airport in Queens in 1,000 shipments from China since 2010, said Richard P. Donoghue, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
“Aventura not only defrauded their customers, but also exposed them to serious, known cybersecurity risks and created a channel by which foreign adversaries and other actors could potentially access some of our government’s most sensitive facilities and computer networks,” Donoghue said.
Some of the items, according to prosecutors, were premarked “Made in USA” with an American flag and Aventura’s logo before being shipped from China to the United States. Other markings indicating Chinese provenance were removed.
The equipment fraudulently labeled as American-made, including body cameras for Air Force personnel, was placed on Army and Air Force bases, in Department of Energy facilities, Navy installations and U.S. aircraft carriers, Donoghue said. The company also sold the goods to private companies, which paid a premium for what they thought were American-made items.
“As they operated this scheme for more than a decade, the owners and operators of Aventura grew rich, trading our national security for personal profit,” said Donoghue at a news conference in Brooklyn.
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