A District of New Jersey federal grand jury has charged a Florida resident with trafficking in counterfeit and fraudulent Cisco networking equipment. The retail value of the counterfeit equipment is estimated at more than $1 billion.
It is alleged that Miami resident Onur Aksoy, aka Dave Durden, aka Ron Aksoy, 38, ran dozens of businesses, which included 19 formed in Florida and New Jersey, at least 10 eBay storefronts and 15 Amazon stores, in addition to others. Collectively, they’re known as the “Pro Network Entities.” These companies imported “tens of thousands” of fraudulent Cisco networking devices from Hong Kong and China. They were resold to unsuspecting U.S. and overseas customers, who believed them to be brand new and genuine.
This massive operation netted more than $100 million in revenue, of which Aksoy pocketed millions of dollars.
As the indictment states, the imported Pro Network Entities devices were usually older products and/or lesser models. Some had been previously sold or were discarded. Chinese counterfeiters modified these old devices to look like new, genuine, and more expensive Cisco units. It is alleged that the counterfeiters added pirated Cisco software and low-quality components. These components included those that would circumvent Cisco’s software technology that would authenticate hardware and scan for license compliance. To make the equipment appear genuine, new and factory-sealed, the counterfeiters allegedly added Cisco documentation, boxes, stickers, labels and other packaging materials.
These counterfeit products had a myriad of functionality, performance and safety issues. They would often malfunction, which significantly damaged users’ networks and operations. Sometimes, damages added up to tens of thousands of dollars. Aksoy’s customers, saddled with fraudulent, counterfeit devices included government agencies, schools, hospitals and the military.
According to the indictment, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seized 180 shipments of counterfeit Cisco equipment between 2014 and 2022, which were being sent to the Pro Network Entities from Hong Kong and China. Following the seizures, Aksoy allegedly submitted false paperwork to CBP using the alias “Dave Durden,” which was an identity he used to communicate with his Chinese co-conspirators.
The counterfeiters used various methods to thwart CBP, such as dividing up shipments and sending on different days, and Aksoy used fake Ohio delivery addresses. He continued to order counterfeit Cisco devices, even after the seizure notice. Cisco also sent multiple cease and desist letters regarding the counterfeit goods.
Aksoy has been hit with numerous charges, including conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods and to commit mail and wire fraud.