Onur Aksoy, a 38-year-old Florida man and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of a group of dozens of companies has been charged for selling counterfeit Cisco devices worth US$1 billion to customers worldwide.

Aksoy was accused of importing tens of thousands of modified substandard network devices from Hong Kong and Chinese manufacturers for 95 per cent to 98 per cent of Cisco’s MSRP. He was able to conduct the operation through a network of at least 19 companies in New Jersey and Florida.

Aksoy carried out the large-scale operation between at least as early as 2013 and 2002, selling the counterfeit devices as new and genuine Cisco products through dozens of Amazon and eBay stores to customers in the United States and around the world.

“As alleged, the Chinese counterfeiters often added pirated Cisco software and unauthorized, low-quality, or unreliable components – including components to circumvent technological measures added by Cisco to the software to verify compliance with software license compliance and to authenticate the hardware,” according to a US Department of Justice (DOJ) press release.

Aksoy’s companies, known as Pro Network Entities, generated more than US$100 million in revenue by selling the counterfeit products to hospitals, schools, governments, and military organizations.

The counterfeit Cisco products had performance, functionality, and security issues that led to outages and disruptions, which in turn caused significant damage to customers’ operations and networks.

The sources for this piece include an article in BleepingComputer.