The chief executive officer of a Lyndhurst, New Jersey, company was charged with falsely representing to law enforcement customers that the security cameras and equipment he sold were compliant with the National Defense Authorization Act, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced today.
Tamer Zakhary, 49, of Toms River, New Jersey is charged by complaint with three counts of wire fraud and one count of making false statements. Zakhary appeared today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Edward S. Kiel in Newark federal court and was released on $100,000 unsecured bond.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
In August 2018, in order to address increased concerns that foreign intelligence actors were looking to infiltrate United States systems and exploit technologies, Congress signed into law Section 889 of the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019. Section 889 prohibits the federal government from procuring or obtaining video surveillance and telecommunications equipment from specifically identified Chinese companies and from entering into contracts with any entity that uses such video surveillance equipment from those specifically identified Chinese companies.
From August 2019 through December 2022, Zakhary, the owner and chief executive officer of a company that sells surveillance and security cameras and equipment, sold millions of dollars’ worth of surveillance cameras and equipment to public safety and law enforcement agencies in New Jersey, including prosecutors’ offices, sheriffs’ offices, police departments, and townships. Zakhary fraudulently misrepresented to these customers that his company’s products were compliant with Section 889. Zakhary, in fact, obtained the cameras and equipment he sold from a Chinese company specifically identified in Section 889. The customers purchased at least $35 million in surveillance cameras and equipment from Zakhary’s company, over $15 million of which consisted of federal funds and grants.
The wire fraud charges each carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison; the false statements charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. All counts are also punishable by a fine of $250,000, or twice the gain or loss from the offense, whichever is greatest.
U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy in Newark; and special agents of Homeland Security Investigations Newark, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Michael Alfonso, with the investigation leading to the charges.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Amore, Chief of the General Crimes Unit in Newark.
The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.