Florida man arrested for selling $1 billion in fake Cisco hardware online

nanoguy

Posts: 1,243   +24
Staff member
Why it matters: It's no secret that China is the world's primary source of counterfeit hardware. For almost a decade, one man has sold vast quantities of fake Cisco systems to unsuspecting customers looking for a good deal on otherwise expensive networking equipment. This type of fraud can have serious economic ramifications when used to power critical infrastructure.

This week, a federal grand jury indicted a Florida man for allegedly selling more than $1 billion of counterfeit Cisco networking equipment to several individuals, hospitals, schools, government agencies, and even the military.

According to the Justice Department, 38-year-old Our "Ron" Aksoy was selling fake equipment from suppliers in China and Hong Kong. More specifically, he imported tens of thousands of devices through no less than 19 entities registered in New Jersey and Florida, collectively dubbed the "Pro Network."

Aksoy sold the products via multiple storefronts on e-commerce platforms like Amazon, eBay, and others. His operation supposedly raked in over $100 million in revenue, of which several million had been pocketed by the "Pro Network" CEO and used for personal gain.

The devices in question were older, lower-end Cisco systems that had been previously resold or discarded. Chinese counterfeiters modified them by adding pirated Cisco software and "unauthorized, low-quality, or unreliable components," essentially dressing them up to look like higher-end hardware. The suppliers also shipped the devices in genuine-looking packaging, with all the Cisco labels, stickers, and documentation.

Aksoy's customers mainly wanted a better deal on machines typically costing thousands or tens of thousands of dollars. As you'd expect, the equipment often failed, didn't work correctly, and performed well below expectations. Over time, that raised the cost of ownership well beyond the initial acquisition cost.

Cisco sent several cease-and-desist letters to Aksoy, but he had his lawyer provide forged invoices in a few instances. Between 2014 and 2022, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seized around 180 shipments of counterfeit Cisco systems headed to the "Pro Network." However, Aksoy allegedly regained some of these seizures by submitting fake paperwork under an alias. He eventually worked with his suppliers to break the shipments into smaller parcels, hoping to avoid further scrutiny.

On June 29, the Department of Homeland Security filed a criminal complaint in New Jersey, leading to Aksoy's arrest in Miami the same day. If you suspect you or your organization may have been one of his customers, you can check here for a list of the various companies and storefronts that were used to sell counterfeit Cisco systems.

Companies like Amazon have been trying to curb the sale of fake products on their platforms for years, albeit with limited success. Customs officers seized counterfeit consumer tech products in 2021 in record numbers, especially smaller items like wearables.

Masthead credit: Johannes Weber

Permalink to story.

 

Uncle Al

Posts: 9,104   +8,145
Here's a good example of why banning certain products from China should be strictly enforced. China is a willing participant, allowing such products to be produced and should be equally punished. Sadly, any IT manager that doesn't see this one coming from a mile away or be smart enough to check it out with the company (Cisco) doesn't deserve to keep their job. Maybe a new occupation as a toaster salesman would be in order ......
 

Dsirius

Posts: 253   +470
Here's a good example of why banning certain products from China should be strictly enforced. China is a willing participant, allowing such products to be produced and should be equally punished. Sadly, any IT manager that doesn't see this one coming from a mile away or be smart enough to check it out with the company (Cisco) doesn't deserve to keep their job. Maybe a new occupation as a toaster salesman would be in order ......
There are better ways to stop this illegal activities. Like better stopping and punishing perpetrators, and making laws more strict to punish them.
 

Neatfeatguy

Posts: 937   +1,623
Why fck does it matter hes from florida?

The story is telling you where he's from. If that bothers you so much, you should just skip over it and move on.....but then you're missing out on some of the information that all stories should provide the readers.

The story provides you with information that follows the who/what/when/where/why of writing:

Who - "Ron" Aksoy (a Florida man)
What - selling counterfeit Cisco networking equipment
When - at least between 2014 and 2022
Where - New Jersey and Florida (which is probably why they call him "a Florida man" in the title and story itself)
Why - to make money (selling more than $1 billion)

All that information is provided in the story. It's a bit scattered and should be more so incorporated into the first and possibly second paragraph, but at least all that info is provided throughout the story. Then the rest of the story should be about filling you in on more details that ties into the who/what/when/where/why.
 

kiwigraeme

Posts: 1,212   +877
Too many questions

Schools, hospitals , military , govt ????
does America not have a Data Protection Act ???

Cisco - surely they could of done more - they are not poor to get the info out in Florida etc

I could understand a small business owner buying this .
Maybe this guy was very good a marketing direct

 

mgwerner

Posts: 183   +261
Too many questions

Schools, hospitals , military , govt ????
does America not have a Data Protection Act ???

Cisco - surely they could of done more - they are not poor to get the info out in Florida etc

I could understand a small business owner buying this .
Maybe this guy was very good a marketing direct
Have you seen some of the folks in charge of purchasing in those entities mentioned? The reason more than a few of them work there in the first place is that they cannot hack it in the regular workforce. There is a reason government workers are not generally known for their work ethic, wise use of funds, and/or depth of knowledge in their field.
 

rmcrys

Posts: 249   +207
Remember when we had leaders who protected domestic markets and jobs
Next safer step for US will be to start producing all it's hardware in US instead of China

In Europe it happens exactly as in the US:
- almost no domestic job / production protection
- companies get *everything* from the customs cleared (in the EU through Netherlands, Italy, Hamburg Germany and before the Brexit, through the UK), so most Chinese products do not comply with the EU regulations (and come with a fake Chinese-made "CE" printed on...) but get in the market. Why? Read the next points...
- those same countries sell tech (cars, trains, chemical products, high-end machinery like the one from ASML, etc) to China for billions, so they close their eyes that those products enter in the EU. They also know that most of those fake products will be sold in South or East Europe (Germany has TÜV to make sure those products are not sold there)

So at the end:
- jobs are lost because most products in Europe are produced in China (tech, fake tech, masks, medical and surgical products, clothing through Italy "made in Italy" LOLOL, etc etc etc etc etc etc.)
- dependency from China: in COVID-19 peak China didn't export and most European countries almost closed without devices/ masks/clothes/material... even garlic comes from China!!!
- China gets our tech and high-end experts
- they buy Europe out

Europe is VERY dependant from China.

And even less understandable because the USA has all other American countries to produce and negotiate; Europe has many countries to produce cheap...

Not to mention the pollution from the transport.
 

Dsirius

Posts: 253   +470
In Europe it happens exactly as in the US:
- almost no domestic job / production protection
- companies get *everything* from the customs cleared (in the EU through Netherlands, Italy, Hamburg Germany and before the Brexit, through the UK), so most Chinese products do not comply with the EU regulations (and come with a fake Chinese-made "CE" printed on...) but get in the market. Why? Read the next points...
- those same countries sell tech (cars, trains, chemical products, high-end machinery like the one from ASML, etc) to China for billions, so they close their eyes that those products enter in the EU. They also know that most of those fake products will be sold in South or East Europe (Germany has TÜV to make sure those products are not sold there)

So at the end:
- jobs are lost because most products in Europe are produced in China (tech, fake tech, masks, medical and surgical products, clothing through Italy "made in Italy" LOLOL, etc etc etc etc etc etc.)
- dependency from China: in COVID-19 peak China didn't export and most European countries almost closed without devices/ masks/clothes/material... even garlic comes from China!!!
- China gets our tech and high-end experts
- they buy Europe out

Europe is VERY dependant from China.

And even less understandable because the USA has all other American countries to produce and negotiate; Europe has many countries to produce cheap...

Not to mention the pollution from the transport.
Another point of view: the most important and no. 1 reason that people loose their jobs nowadays is corporations greed. World produce more enough for it's population, just that the goods (products) are not available for the majority, which are and the poorest, because is not profitable enough for corporations regardless of countries. During "pandemic" corporations profit doubled (for some even more) in detriment of population which become poorer.
Corporations and every country can relocate their productions facilities into their own countries.
I think that blaming China too much instead of looking into it's own yard is not a viable solution for the long term and does not solve the problem.
 

eforce

Posts: 1,026   +1,477
Another point of view: the most important and no. 1 reason that people loose their jobs nowadays is corporations greed. World produce more enough for it's population, just that the goods (products) are not available for the majority, which are and the poorest, because is not profitable enough for corporations regardless of countries. During "pandemic" corporations profit doubled (for some even more) in detriment of population which become poorer.
Corporations and every country can relocate their productions facilities into their own countries.
I think that blaming China too much instead of looking into it's own yard is not a viable solution for the long term and does not solve the problem.

Greed is good, competition keeps it in check, socialism remove that check.
 

Endymio

Posts: 1,827   +1,895
the most important and no. 1 reason that people loose [sic] their jobs nowadays is corporations [sic] greed.
When you're willing to work to lose money by working for someone, you can complain about them not being willing to lose money by employing you.

During "pandemic" corporations profit doubled (for some even more) in detriment of population which became poorer
Some company's saw profits increase. Many others saw them decrease, or vanish entirely. As for those companies who saw profits rise, each and every one of them is owned by members of "the population". Do you not have a 401K, or retirement fund of any sort? Corporations are essential to modern society and our standard of living. Your "us versus them" mentality with regards to them is not simply flawed, it's exceedingly dangerous.

I think that blaming China too much instead of looking into it's own yard is not a viable solution
The Chinese government actively supports and encourages local firms to steal technology and other assets from abroad. Do you think we should overlook that?
 

BadThad

Posts: 1,149   +1,349
Best "joke" of the day from this forum.

The real joke is how the media has brainwashed you into the whole "corporate greed" fantasy. Corporations employ thousands (even millions) of working people directly and indirectly. They provide products and services that people want, need and desire. They exist to generate profit for not just their benefit but for all of mankind.

What is your proposed alternative to corporations? Full government control of business? There's a word for that - communism, which looks like what you're clamoring for.
 

Dsirius

Posts: 253   +470
The real joke is how the media has brainwashed you into the whole "corporate greed" fantasy. Corporations employ thousands (even millions) of working people directly and indirectly. They provide products and services that people want, need and desire. They exist to generate profit for not just their benefit but for all of mankind.

What is your proposed alternative to corporations? Full government control of business? There's a word for that - communism, which looks like what you're clamoring for.
Keep dreaming and live in a fantasy corporation nightmare world is your choice. The rest of the world is aware of lame american corporations propaganda. Just not working anymore.
 
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waclark

Posts: 577   +359
There are better ways to stop this illegal activities. Like better stopping and punishing perpetrators, and making laws more strict to punish them.

That's kind of the point to banning. It's punishing companies in China for attempting to run illegal products into the US. Even if you catch the guy in the US, you can't punish the company in China except by banning their products.

The Chinese government is complicit in this whole scam and they won't take action to stop it. This has been going on for decades. I used to work for a company that sold to the Chinese gov. Every year we had to go to China and do an audit to see how much of our stuff (software) they were stealing. Turns out, quite a bit.
 

rmcrys

Posts: 249   +207
The real joke is how the media has brainwashed you into the whole "corporate greed" fantasy. Corporations employ thousands (even millions) of working people directly and indirectly.
You're right about it, but you just "forgot" a detail: corporations employ millions in... China.

As an example, Europe:
- most corporations shut down factories and nowadays just have the main offices with around 5% of the previous staff.
- so the money that comes in by producing cheaper in China and selling at the same or higher prices, goes directly to the investors mostly in offshore accounts.
- as an example, Luxembourg or Netherlands provide unfair tax advantages even being in the EU, so companies that previously where 100% in Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, etc., now they moved the production to China / India. The remaining part (offices), dislocated to those above-mentioned countries and the main residence (tax) to Switzerland so that the taxes are lower.

So what remains in Italy, Spain, Portugal, etc.? Unemployment and less money available as taxes are paid in other countries. Why is Luxemburg so rich? Not because they have top notch industry... 😂
 

waclark

Posts: 577   +359
You're right about it, but you just "forgot" a detail: corporations employ millions in... China.

As an example, Europe:
- most corporations shut down factories and nowadays just have the main offices with around 5% of the previous staff.
- so the money that comes in by producing cheaper in China and selling at the same or higher prices, goes directly to the investors mostly in offshore accounts.
- as an example, Luxembourg or Netherlands provide unfair tax advantages even being in the EU, so companies that previously where 100% in Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, etc., now they moved the production to China / India. The remaining part (offices), dislocated to those above-mentioned countries and the main residence (tax) to Switzerland so that the taxes are lower.

So what remains in Italy, Spain, Portugal, etc.? Unemployment and less money available as taxes are paid in other countries. Why is Luxemburg so rich? Not because they have top notch industry... 😂
First Chinese "corporations" are owned by the government, not the same.

Second, Luxembourg (pop 650,000) has 140,000 corporations, many financial institutions and investment firms, with over $6.5 USD Trillion in assets. If you're trying to hold up Luxembourg as non-corporate, you would be wrong.
 

Endymio

Posts: 1,827   +1,895
]companies that previously where 100% in Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, etc., now they moved the production to China / India....So what remains in Italy, Spain, Portugal, etc.? Unemployment and less money available
True, but you're ignoring the underlying cause as to why those firms stopped production in Europe. It isn't simply wage differences ( the wage gap between China and Europe is smaller today than it was five decades ago).

In any case, what's your solution? The EU can of course pass laws outlawing offshoring ... but then foreign firms put all the domestic ones out of business. The EU could then implement draconian protectionism schemes to protect domestic markets against foreign competition -- but that would mean withdrawing from the WTU, and enormously higher prices for consumers.

Or -- the EU could simply make a more favorable business climate at home -- and have enough courage to stand up to China's unfair business practices, which clearly violate existing WTU regulations in countless regards.