A Florida-based man was arrested and charged for selling fake Cisco devices worth $1 billion. According to the indictment, the 38-year-old, allegedly known as Onur ‘Ron’ Aksoy and Dave Durden, was the CEO of at least 19 companies, formed in Florida and New Jersey. He is reported to have been running 15 Amazon storefronts, 10 eBay storefronts, as well as multiple other entities, collectively tracked as “Pro Network Entities.”
Onur’s businesses bought fake Cisco equipment from Hong Kong and China, with Cisco boxes, stickers, labels, and documentation, which helped make the products appear to be of high quality, genuine, and brand new. As a matter of fact, most of the equipment was older, lower-model products, some of which had been previously owned. The Chinese supplier had modified the products to make them look genuine and brand new, so they could be sold as newer models launched by Cisco, obviously at a much higher price. The fake equipment was acquired by Onur at very low prices, and in some cases as low as 99% cheaper than the original.
The fraudulent and counterfeit products sold by the Pro Network Entities were fraught with numerous issues including functionality, safety and performance problems. They caused significant network and operational issues for the consumers, and in some cases cost them substantial amounts of money. Onur’s customers included schools, hospitals, the military and government agencies.
According to the authorities, Onur filled his coffers with millions of dollars, and he allegedly wired at least $55 million to his suppliers. His gross revenue through this scheme was at least $100 million.
Onur and his companies continued doing business, despite the fact that many of his shipments from China were seized by the US authorities. Cisco sent him cease and desist letters, and customers complained about products, which led Amazon to remove product listings, but Onur was unstoppable. He even hired legal representation and provided fake financial documents.
He was finally arrested in Miami on June 29, 2022 and was charged by indictment, returned July 7, 2022, with one count of conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods and to commit mail and wire fraud; three counts of mail fraud; four counts of wire fraud; and three counts of trafficking in counterfeit goods.
The news of Onur’s arrest came soon after Cisco informed its customers to upgrade the IOS software on some switch models to ensure that the devices were not counterfeit. In addition to functionality and performance problems, counterfeit equipment can cause serious security risks.
The US Department of Justice has shared a list of the Pro Network Business Entities, as well as Amazon and eBay storefronts used by Onur Aksoy. Potential victims are advised to share the details with the authorities.
For more information on this you may read the press release by the US Department of Justice here.
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