Selling fake Cisco network gear lands two men in US prison

A US federal jury convicted two people this week over a scheme to import and sell counterfeit Cisco-branded networking equipment, the Department of Justice said.

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A US federal jury convicted two people this week over a scheme to import and sell counterfeit Cisco-branded networking equipment, the Department of Justice said.

The jury found Chun-Yu Zhao guilty of conspiracy and 15 other counts related to import fraud and counterfeit labelling, the department sai. Zhao ran the US headquarters of a Chinese company that stole intellectual property and defrauded customers, said US Attorney Neil MacBride.

Zhao took millions of dollars from unsuspecting consumers and businesses, MacBride said.

The counterfeit case is part of a wider justice department effort to fight a growing number of intellectual property crimes. Authorities in the US and Canada have been looking into import fraud involving China since 2005.

The jury's Tuesday verdict also convicted a second suspect, Donald Cone, of conspiracy.

Cone, Zhao and Zhao's family members in China had operated a "large scale counterfeit computer networking equipment business" under the name Han Tong Technology (Hong Kong), the justice department said. Zhao and others working with her had defrauded US buyers through a company called JDC Networking.

JDC Networking used pirated software to alter Cisco products and falsify labels, the department said. Zhao used different names and addresses on import documents and hid millions of dollars of counterfeit proceeds through bank accounts and property under the names of family members in China.

Each suspect faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for conspiracy when sentenced. Zhao could also get decades more prison time and more than $2 million in additional fines for the other charges, the justice department said.

As of May 2010, efforts to stop counterfeit networking hardware in the US had led to 30 felony convictions and the seizure of $143 million of fake Cisco hardware.

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