A New York tech company made millions by selling Chinese-made equipment to the U.S. military that it falsely claimed were built in the U.S., the Justice Department charged Thursday.
The scheme carried out by Aventura Technologies exposed the federal government and multiple military branches, including the Army, Navy and Air Force, to serious cybersecurity risks and created a channel through which “hostile foreign governments could have accessed some of the government’s most sensitive facilities,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.
Federal prosecutors charged seven current and former Aventura employees in the plot. The charges were announced hours after federal agents raided the headquarters of the Long Island based surveillance and security equipment company.
“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.
New York prosecutors say Aventura generated upwards of $88 million since 2006, including over $20 million in federal government contracts, by selling equipment it claimed was built at its headquarters. In actuality, the company produced nothing on its premises and instead imported products primarily from China and then resold them as American made, court papers say.
The equipment made in China and sold by Aventura has been installed on dozens of Army, Navy and Air Force bases, Department of Energy facilities and other places including Navy aircraft carriers, court papers say.