Updated 4:58 p.m. Federal prosecutors Thursday accused a Northport couple and their business of illegally importing and reselling millions of dollars worth of Chinese-made equipment with a “known cybersecurity vulnerability” to American government agencies, including the military, while claiming it was American made.
The Commack company, Aventura Technologies Inc., and seven current or former employees were named in the criminal complaint unsealed in federal court in Brooklyn. The complaint named Jack Cabasso, 61, Aventura’s managing director and de facto owner and operator, and his wife, Frances Cabasso, 59, an owner and chief executive of the company. Also charged were senior executives Jonathan Lasker, Christine Lavonne Lazarus and Eduard Matulik; current employee Wayne Marino; and recently retired employee Alan Schwartz.
“The harm to Aventura’s victims was not merely that they overpaid for Chinese equipment; Cabasso’s scheme resulted in his customers – including the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force – unwittingly incorporating electronics with serious cybersecurity risks into their security networks,” the government said.
Since 2006, “Cabasso has profited handsomely through his lies. Aventura has made more than $88 million since November 2010,” according to paperwork. Because of Cabasso’s use of shell companies, real estate transactions on behalf of third-party beneficiaries, and other money laundering techniques aimed at obfuscation and concealment, the government does not have a comprehensive understanding of the nature and location of all Cabasso’s financial assets, the paper said. Authorities have seized more than $3 million along with Cabasso’s 70-foot luxury yacht, but believe that Cabasso has significant offshore assets, as well as ties to jurisdictions from which extradition is practically impossible, including China. The government has frozen approximately $3 million in 12 financial accounts.
Four defendants are accused of defrauding the federal government by falsely claiming that Frances Cabasso was the owner and operator of Aventura to obtain access to government contracts set aside for women-owned businesses.
U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District Richard P. Donoghue said Cabasso was previously convicted of jury tampering in the Eastern District of New York and was a flight risk, in arguing that the defendant remain in jail until trial.
Lasker, Lazarus, Matulik and Schwartz were each released on a $250,000 bond.
Frances Cabasso was released on a $1 million bond.
Jack Cabasso was detained; he did not have a bail package to offer today.
Wayne Marino is expected to surrender Friday.Aventura et al. Complaint Press Release