The suspect is 38-year-old Onur Aksoy of Miami, who is allegedly also known as Ron Aksoy and Dave Durden. According to authorities, he was the CEO of at least 19 companies — collectively tracked as Pro Network Entities — that bought fake Cisco networking equipment from China and Hong Kong and sold it in the United States and elsewhere. The fake products had counterfeit Cisco labels, stickers, boxes, and documentation to appear new, genuine, and of high quality. In reality, many of them were older Cisco products that had been discarded or sold and then modified by the Chinese supplier. The fake devices were acquired for significantly smaller prices compared to the original equipment, in some cases for as much as 99 percent cheaper. The devices were then sold at big discounts compared to the original products. Aksoy allegedly wired at least $55 million to his suppliers and generated at least $100 million in gross revenue through this scheme. Authorities say he derived millions of dollars for his personal gain. Investigators estimated that tens of thousands of counterfeit Cisco devices were distributed via the scheme. Had it been new and genuine, the equipment would have been worth roughly $1 billion. The DoJ says the fake devices were sold on Amazon, eBay, and through direct sales on the websites of the fake companies set up by the man. The equipment was acquired by hospitals, schools, government agencies, and even the military. The devices often malfunctioned, in some cases costing users tens of thousands of dollars. Despite many of the shipments from China being seized by US authorities, despite Cisco sending cease and desist letters to Aksoy and his companies, and despite customer complaints that led to Amazon removing product listings, Aksoy and his companies continued doing business. The alleged fraudster even hired legal representation and provided fake financial documents. The DoJ has made available a list of Pro Network companies, as well as eBay and Amazon storefronts used by Aksoy. Potential victims are advised to get in touch with authorities. The news of Aksoy’s arrest comes just weeks after Cisco informed customers to upgrade the IOS software on some switch models to ensure that the devices are not counterfeit.
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