Think your company is enjoying the benefits of using tech tools from Cisco? You’d better think again and check for authenticity.
Last June 29th, authorities arrested 38-year-old Miami resident Onur Aksoy who had been selling counterfeit Cisco equipment in a conspiracy that had gone on for nearly a decade.
Aksoy, who has also been known by the aliases Ron Aksoy and Dave Durden, has been charged with running a fraudulent operation known as the Pro Network Entities. The charges include one count of conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods, three counts of mail fraud, four counts of wire fraud, as well as three counts of actual trafficking of counterfeit goods.
The conspiracy was deployed through several companies in Florida and New Jersey, as well as 25 online storefronts on both Amazon and eBay.
What went on
Aksoy and his associates cosmetically refurbished used Cisco equipment, embellishing these with counterfeit labels and packaging and bolstering them with fake documentation to make them seem genuine products right off the assembly line. The said devices were sold to various institutions, including schools, hospitals, and military and government offices.
The fraudulent equipment also included pirated Cisco software, as well as technical components for bypassing authentication checks and license compliance. Aksoy is said to have imported much of his stock from China and Hong Kong.
While the equipment worked for a few days, it eventually malfunctioned and damaged the networks they were connected to, subsequently disrupting operations for affected users. In many cases, repairing the damage caused by these defective devices cost beleaguered customers tens of thousands of dollars.
“Cease and desist”
Aksoy’s operations have been on the radar of federal law enforcement for the past eight years. Last month, federal agents seized over 1,000 fake Cisco devices worth more than $7 million from one of Aksoy’s warehouses in an undisclosed location.
Cisco has, likewise, been aware of his activities. Between 2014 and 2019, the tech company sent seven letters demanding that Aksoy and Pro Network cease and desist their business of selling counterfeit equipment. However, Cisco’s demands fell on deaf ears.
But the company has not been negligent regarding warning its customers about the proliferation of fake equipment sellers on and offline. Cisco issued a customer advisory earlier this year wherein it advised customers what to do to verify the authenticity and quality of any of its solutions in their possession.