- Onur Aksoy founded multiple companies and stores to sell fake Cisco equipment. Those companies purchased tens of thousands of fake Cisco networking devices from China and Hong Kong.
- According to the allegation, the products that the Pro Network Entities imported from China and Hong Kong were typically older, lower-model, and some had been sold or discarded.
- The fraudulent operation allegedly generated over $1 billion in revenue, and Aksoy received millions of dollars for his gain.
The US Justice Department announced on Friday that 38-year-old CEO Onur “Ron” Aksoy was arrested for supposedly running multiple stores that sold fake Cisco networking equipment. According to the statement, Aksoy imported tens of thousands of fraudulent Cisco devices from China and Hong Kong. He then created at least 19 companies in New Jersey and Florida and sold the equipment over « Pro Network » through the e-commerce sites. It is estimated he earned over $1 billion by reselling the fake equipment.
CEO of dozen companies
The Department of Justice stated that Onur Aksoy ran 19 companies formed in New Jersey and Florida. He also ran at least 15 Amazon, 10 eBay storefronts, and multiple other facilities and sold the equipment under « Pro Network » to make it look legitimate. Those companies purchased tens of thousands of fake Cisco networking devices from China and Hong Kong. Then, they resold them to customers in the United States and overseas, deceitfully presenting the products as new and genuine. The customers were hospitals, schools, government agencies, and the military.
According to the allegation, the products that the Pro Network Entities imported from China and Hong Kong were typically older, lower-model, and some had been sold or discarded. Chinese partners modified the devices to look like genuine versions of new, enhanced, and more expensive Cisco devices. The Chinese partners often added pirated Cisco software and unauthorized, low-quality, or unreliable components as well. Finally, to make the devices appear genuine and factory-sealed by Cisco, the Chinese allegedly added faked Cisco labels, stickers, boxes, documentation, packaging, and other materials.
As a result, the devices suffered from numerous performance, functionality, and safety problems. They would simply not work or go wrong. Eventually, the fake products caused significant damage to their users’ networks and operations. Or they would cost users tens of thousands of dollars in some cases.
Using logistic tactics to avoid allegations
According to the allegation, between 2014 and 2022, Customs and Border Protection seized 180 shipments of counterfeit Cisco devices being shipped to Pro Network. In response to some of the seizures, Aksoy had submitted official paperwork to custom officials under the alias « Dave Durden » an identity that he used to communicate with Chinese co-conspirators.
To avoid customs inspection, he even tried to break the shipments, get the equipment in smaller parcels, and shipped them on different days. More interestingly, Aksoy and the Pro Network Entities were informed by notice but they continued their operations. Cisco also sent seven letters to Aksoy asking him to cease his trafficking of counterfeit goods between 2014 and 2019.
The fraudulent operation allegedly generated over $1 billion in revenue, and Aksoy received millions of dollars for his gain. Aksoy is charged 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. Aksoy was charged by a criminal complaint filed in New Jersey on June 29 and was arrested in Miami the same day.