US Att’y: CEO of Lyndhurst company indicted on fraud charges

The chief executive officer of a Lyndhurst-based 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, when, in fact, they were not, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.

Tamer Zakhary, 49, of Toms River, the owner of the Lyndhurst business, is charged by complaint with three counts of wire fraud and one count of making false statements. Zakhary appeared recently 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 the case and statements made in court:

In August 2018, in order to address increased concerns 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 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.

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 greater.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Amore, Chief of the General Crimes Unit in Newark.

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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.