A CEO of dozens of companies is facing a prison sentence of four to six and a half years after he pleaded guilty to running an operation that trafficked counterfeit and fraudulent Cisco networking equipment to customers that included government agencies and the military.
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Case documents and court statements said the CEO, a Florida resident named Onur Aksoy, oversaw at least 19 companies, about 15 Amazon storefronts and at least 10 eBay storefronts.
Aksoy’s companies and storefronts, collectively called Pro Network Entities, had allegedly imported tens of thousands of modified, low-quality computer networking devices from China and Hong Kong. The products came with Cisco stickers, labels, boxes, packaging and fake trademarks registered and owned by Cisco.
According to the Department of Justice, the devices carried an approximate total retail value of hundreds of millions of dollars, which led to Aksoy’s Pro Network Entities generating more than $100 million in revenue.
Aksoy’s co-conspirators would modify the old, lower-model products to appear as new and genuine Cisco devices. Modifications included pirated Cisco software and components that circumvented the technological measures designed to authenticate the hardware and check for software license compliance.
The DOJ said the counterfeit and fraudulent products would fail, malfunction and sometimes cost users tens of thousands of dollars.
Aksoy’s actions, however, did not go unnoticed. Between 2014 and 2022, Customs and Border Protection seized about 180 shipments of counterfeit Cisco devices and sent a notice. Aksoy responded with falsely submitted paperwork and continued to order the fake products in shipments broken up into smaller parcels on different days.
After Cisco sent seven cease and desist letters to Aksoy, he responded to at least two by causing his attorney to provide Cisco with forged documents.
A search warrant executed at Aksoy’s warehouse seized 1,156 counterfeit Cisco devices with more than $7 million retail value.
In addition to his pending sentence on November 6, Aksoy must also forfeit $15 million in illicit gains and make full restitution to the victims.