Cisco Counterfeiter Pleads Guilty to $100m Scheme

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A Florida man has pleaded guilty to making over $100m from importing and selling counterfeit Cisco networking devices.

Onur Aksoy, 39, of Miami, pleaded guilty to conspiring with others to traffic in counterfeit goods, to commit mail fraud, and to commit wire fraud and mail fraud. He is facing anywhere between four and six-and-a-half years behind bars and must forfeit $15m in illicit gains made from the scheme, according to the Department of Justice (DoJ).

Dual US/Turkish citizen Aksoy ran at least 19 companies in New Jersey and Florida, alongside 15 Amazon storefronts and at least 10 eBay storefronts, which prosecutors collectively referred to as the “Pro Network Entities.”

Read more on counterfeiting: Interpol Seizes $14m in Fake #COVID19 Pharma Goods.

According to court documents, he imported tens of thousands of knock-off Cisco networking devices from China and Hong Kong, complete with fake labels, stickers, boxes, documentation and packaging designed to make them appear to be genuine products.

These devices were older products, often previously sold or discarded, which Chinese forgers modified to make them appear newer, more expensive devices. Often, pirated Cisco software and unreliable and unauthorized components were also added, including components designed to circumvent Cisco anti-piracy checks.

According to the DoJ, many of these products suffered from performance issues and in some cases malfunctioned, damaging customers’ networks and operations. One unfortunate business lost tens of thousands of dollars in the process, court documents claimed.

Some recipients apparently included hospitals, schools, government agencies and the military.

Aksoy is also said to have falsely submitted official paperwork to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) under an alias and used fake addresses in Ohio to receive shipments. CBP apparently seized 180 counterfeit shipments from Pro Network Entities between 2014 and 2019.

Further, between 2014 and 2019, Cisco sent seven cease and desist letters to Aksoy, with the latter responding at least twice via his attorney with forged documents. In July 2021, agents searched his warehouse and seized 1156 counterfeit Cisco devices with a retail value of over $7m.

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