By Jonathan Stempel
(Reuters) - U.S. prosecutors on Friday announced the arrest of a Florida man accused of importing counterfeit Cisco networking equipment that if authentic would be worth more than $1 billion, and reselling the fake products on Amazon.com, eBay and elsewhere.
Onur Aksoy, 38, of Miami, allegedly worked with suppliers in China and Hong Kong from 2013 to 2022 to import tens of thousands of fake devices through at least 19 entities in New Jersey and Florida dubbed the Pro Network.
The U.S. Attorney's office in New Jersey, which announced the arrest, said Aksoy then resold the devices to unwitting customers, with the devices' origins having been disguised with fake Cisco labels, packaging and documentation.
According to the indictment, the scheme netted about $100 million of revenue and several million dollars of illegal profit for Aksoy, who allegedly bought the fake devices for as much as 99% less than Cisco's recommended retail prices.
Cisco Systems Inc sent at least seven cease-and-desist letters to Aksoy, who in response had his lawyer at the time provide forged invoices at least twice, the indictment said.
Amazon and eBay, meanwhile, blocked numerous storefronts after receiving counterfeiting complaints from customers and Cisco, the indictment added.
A lawyer representing Aksoy in the criminal case did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Cisco, based in San Jose, California, did not immediately respond to similar requests.
Aksoy was charged with 11 criminal counts including mail fraud, wire fraud, trafficking in counterfeit goods, and conspiracy. Each count carries a maximum prison term of between five and 20 years.
The case is U.S. v. Aksoy, U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, No. 22-mj-09260.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Marguerita Choy)