Operators Sold Networking Gear Supported by Counterfeit Cisco Labels, Boxes, Manuals and Serial Numbers Obtained from Cisco Support Site
After selling $1 million worth of counterfeit Cisco equipment through a business operated with a co-defendant, Christopher Myers, 42, of Leawood, Kansas, has been sentenced to 33 months in federal prison.
According to the FBI, in his plea, Myers admitted to operating a business under the name of Deals Direct, Inc., from a warehouse in Merriam, Kansas with co-defendant Timothy Weatherly of Overland Park, Kansas. From 2005 through November, 2006, Myers and Weatherly imported computer equipment from China, putting counterfeit Cisco labels on the equipment and selling the counterfeit equipment through various online channels including the company’s own Web site and on eBay. Myers and Weatherly packed the products in Cisco boxes with counterfeit Cisco manuals, selling them as genuine Cisco equipment.
Beyond using Cisco labeled packaging and manuals, the two went one step further, and obtained legitimate serial numbers by accessing Cisco’s confidential serial number verification Web site.
Working with a manufacturer in Hong Kong, the conspirators used multiple shippers and other methods to attempt to keep shipments from being seized by customs officials. When investigators served a search warrant Nov. 8, 2006, in Merriam, Kansas, they found hundreds of counterfeit Cisco labels, stickers, boxes, and documentation as well as thousands of counterfeit Cisco goods.
Myers pleaded guilty this week to one count of conspiring to bring goods into the United States by false statements, to smuggle goods into the United States, and to traffic in counterfeit goods. Co-defendant Weatherly is set for sentencing Oct. 3.
While cases like this are certainly not good for companies like Cisco and other technology vendors that must continually battle counterfeit products, this isn’t what really scares the government and the security industry. A Department of Homeland Security official last week warned that hardware manufactured overseas and shipped to the U.S. was arriving pre-loaded with security bugs. According to ThreatPost, the DHS and Department of Defense have established a joint task force charged with looking at ways to ensure the strength and integrity of the U.S. technology supply chain over the long term.
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