Last spring, the Pentagon spent more than $165,000 on a set of sophisticated radio antennas for a contingent of elite Navy SEALs. Unfortunately, they were cheap knockoffs, courtesy of a California vendor apparently looking to secure some extra profit.

search warrant application recently filed by the Defense Department provides a glimpse into how the alleged scam worked.

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In April 2019, the Naval Special Warfare Command solicited bids to buy 450 VHF/UHF antennas for use by members of the Navy SEALs. The request required the body-worn antennas come from New York-based manufacturer Mastodon Design, and that the supplier qualify as a small business.