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CEO charged with selling fake Cisco devices

The 38-year-old Onur Aksoy allegedly sold more than $100 million of counterfeit networking hardware

Close up Cisco logo on a UCS C240 M4 server in a data centre

A prominent chief executive officer (CEO) has been charged with conspiring to sell tens of thousands of counterfeit Cisco networking equipment to customers including healthcare and military organisations.

Onur Aksoy, also known as Ron, allegedly spearheaded the illicit ‘Pro Network’ operation with suppliers in China and Hong Kong between August 2013 to roughly April 2022. The 38-year-old Miami, Florida, resident has previously been the CEO of dozens of companies.

The operation, in total, generated approximately $100 million in gross revenue, according to court filings published last week.

During the period, Aksoy and others imported low-quality networking products and worked to make them appear like new and genuine high-quality Cisco equipment. His organisation resold those devices in the US and the rest of the world, falsely claiming these devices were brand new Cisco products. 

Pro Network’s supplies sent the products to Aksoy packaged with counterfeit Cisco labels, stickers, boxes, documentation, and packaging to make it appear these devices were genuine hardware units green-lit by Cisco. 

These products, however, suffered from numerous issues including performance and functionality problems, as well as safety issues. There were some reports of counterfeit products simply failing or malfunctioning, which caused “substantial damage” to users’ networks and operations. In some cases, it had cost users tens of thousands of dollars.

An investigation showed that Pro Network would take evasive measures to avoid being found out by law enforcement. 

For example, the organisation would routinely break up large orders of counterfeit Cisco products into multiple smaller shipments, which were dispatched on different days, while shipping counterfeit products to undeliverable addresses. This changed the final shipping address to Pro Network’s headquarters only after they had been cleared by inspectors.

Bank records showed Aksoy wired at least $55 million to counterfeit supplier bank accounts to purchase the counterfeit equipment. They would then sell these products through various channels including Amazon, eBay, and direct sales. 

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