A Florida man has pleaded guilty to importing and selling counterfeit Cisco networking equipment to various organizations, including education, government agencies, healthcare and the military.
Florida resident Onur Aksoy, 39, spearheaded the program through 19 New Jersey- and Florida-formed companies and several online storefronts, collectively known as “Pro Network Entities.” .
Aksoy filed a criminal complaint against him about a year agothe Justice Department accusing him of running the counterfeit scheme between 2014 and 2022, earning more than $100,000,000 in the process.
A US Department of Justice announcement released yesterday says Aksoy pleaded guilty in the US District Court in New Jersey, admitting that he defrauded numerous people and businesses by selling them shoddy equipment designed to appear as new Cisco models.
“Aksoy pleaded guilty to (1) conspiring with others to traffic in counterfeit goods, committing mail fraud, and committing wire fraud and (2) mail fraud,” he said. said the Department of Justice. Press release.
The system of government
According to the DOJ, Pro Network Entities imported old, used, or substandard networking equipment from China and Hong Kong, requiring exporters to modify the equipment so that it appeared as genuine, brand-new Cisco devices.
Between 2014 and 2022, US Customs and Border Protection intercepted 180 shipments of counterfeit Cisco devices sent to Pro Network entities.
Aksoy responded to these seizures by using false aliases for documents and a false shipping address in Ohio to disassociate the entities from the Pro network as much as possible and evade scrutiny from authorities.
Chinese sellers were then instructed to send the products in smaller packages and on different days to minimize the risk of them being subject to examinations.
Chinese vendors have even added pirated Cisco software and incorporated components that would help circumvent the software license verification mechanisms that Cisco software uses to verify that it is running on genuine hardware.
The seemingly legitimate appearance of the devices has been supplemented with the addition of Cisco labels, stickers, sealed boxes, Cisco-branded documentation and packaging from the American tech giant.
However, buyers of these devices have suffered numerous performance, feature and security issues, and many have contacted Cisco for assistance.
The networking company realized the nature of Aksoy’s business and sent him seven cease-and-desist letters between 2014 and 2019.
In July 2021, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Aksoy’s warehouse and found and confiscated over a thousand fake Cisco devices with a retail value of over $7,000. $000.
Aksoy is due on November 6, 2023, and carries a maximum sentence of 6.5 years in prison. The man must also give up $15,000,000, which will be given as compensation to the victims.
The US DoJ has published a list of all “Pro Network Entities” companies and eBay and Amazon storefronts that have sold counterfeit equipment.
Individuals or businesses who have purchased products from the stores listed are encouraged to follow the instructions provided on this dedicated pagewhich include emailing a questionnaire (not yet available) to a Homeland Security email address.