back to article Florida man gets 6 years behind bars for flogging fake Cisco kit to US military

Miami resident Onur Aksoy has been sentenced to six and a half years in prison for running a multi-million-dollar operation selling fake Cisco equipment that ended up in the US military. Counterfeiting computer parts is nothing new, though Aksoy's scheme, which ran from 2014 to 2022, was innovative in its scale. He oversaw at …

  1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Wrong place

    Classic case of wrong place

    Here in the UK he would have been given a knighthood.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Wrong place

      And probably a second contract.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wrong place

        He could even be Prime Minister!

    2. Tim99 Silver badge

      Re: Wrong place

      No. More likely a peerage, so that they can vote to continue the gravy train.

  2. ecofeco Silver badge

    Good! Sod that dumb bastard

    I will never understand how people who get lucrative contracts that most people die trying to get all of their lives, then go and screw it up.

    Yeah, I know the reasons, I will just never comprehend it.

    1. Michael Strorm Silver badge

      Re: Good! Sod that dumb bastard

      I might be wrong, but it reads like the US military simply happened to end up buying some of this guy's routers- either directly or indirectly- not that he had nor was offered a more formal arrangement with them.

      Also, it doesn't look like this guy was operating in good faith or ever selling genuine routers to start off with. Even if he'd "lucked into" a potential contract with the army and had the opportunity to "go straight", would he have ever been in a position to obtain and sell genuine Cisco routers in the first place *and* still do so profitably at the price he'd been selling the fake routers at?

      1. ChoHag Silver badge

        Re: Good! Sod that dumb bastard

        If he had ensured the military got legit equipment, even at a cost, they would have fought *for* him to keep their supplier whatever his other discretions.

        See also: Boeing, who seem to be running out of witnesses against them.

        1. Michael Strorm Silver badge

          Re: Good! Sod that dumb bastard

          > If he had ensured the military got legit equipment, even at a cost

          You mean the old "lose money on every sale, but make it up in volume" trick? ;-)

      2. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: Good! Sod that dumb bastard

        *and* still do so profitably

        Selling to the US Army? Of course he could ,

    2. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Good! Sod that dumb bastard

      3 downvotes? Someone has a guilty conscious.

      1. EricB123 Silver badge

        Re: Good! Sod that dumb bastard

        "3 downvotes? Someone has a guilty conscious."

        I have made several posts over time that couldn't possibly have offended anybody, and were definitely correct, yet got a deluge of down votes.

        Your post probably explains the main reason.

        1. Mike 137 Silver badge

          Re: Good! Sod that dumb bastard

          Possibly a more likely reason is that 'voting' is not based on any assessment of the validity of the matter voted on, but is mostly a knee jerk reaction on the basis of "do I like it?" (hence votes on Xittter et al being labelled as "likes").

          1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

            Re: Good! Sod that dumb bastard

            That's always been an issue. Perhaps El Reg could arrange things so you couldn't downvote without posting 'why'...

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Good! Sod that dumb bastard

              Nah, we'd just end up with 100's or 1000's of inverse AOL "Me too!" posts swamping the pages.

            2. Andy Tunnah

              Re: Good! Sod that dumb bastard

              I'm downvoting you simply for suggesting that.

      2. Michael Strorm Silver badge

        Re: Good! Sod that dumb bastard

        > Someone has a guilty conscious

        I think you'll find it's spelled "couscous".

    3. Mike 137 Silver badge

      Re: Good! Sod that dumb bastard

      What's even more inexplicable is how they land successions of contracts, scewing up each in turn without it affecting their eligibility for the next.

  3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "This case should serve as a warning to those who attempt to sell counterfeit goods to the US government,"

    Or it could serve as business advice to the effect that you can get away with selling fake stuff for a long time provided you don't try to sell to the US govt.

    1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      I was going to post similar, and add "remember to get out before your luck runs out".

      It's not surprising people are tempted given how high the rewards of crime can be, how long they can get away with it.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      And as a "Keep calm and carry on" message to all the fakers selling to the general population. This wasn't something under the radar, Cisco were aware of the operation and sending cease and desist notices for years and no one was taking any action over this fraudulent operation until the DoD got stung.

  4. aerogems Silver badge

    Why didn't Cisco sue the guy if they knew what he was doing and he ignored cease and desist demands?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Or report it to the authorities. Cicso were losing revenue and were in a position to sue, but law enforcement and the judiciary had what they needed to bring a fraud case too. Were they not aware? Had Cisco not told anyone? Had no one else noted the shit they were buying as "new" Cisco kit? I find it hard to believe that no one bothered to report this to the cops or FBI (interstate trade in fake goods and all the encompassing "wire fraud") and no one did anything about it.

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Report a burgalry to the authorities in the the UK with CCTV and names of the culprits and you 'll be lucky if anything comes of it.

        Reporting this would get the response " Er , we're not sure if a crimes been committed , if it has its a civil matter and up to you to sue the guy"

        1. CountCadaver Silver badge

          The old "it's a grey area you see" in response to anything short of mass murder as they cba with it and even threatening behaviour they couldn't care less about - I was on the receiving end of "how do you know your neighbour doesn't have an eye condition?" After I complained about him intimidating my disabled wife by staring at her whenever she was out in the garden, worse plod Scotland decided the officer in question had done nothing wrong and was simply airing his thoughts.

          Flipping useless so they are.....

    2. ANymoos

      They tried but their writs were addressed to Dave Durden, Phil McCracken and Betty Swallocks.

  5. Bebu Silver badge

    If only...

    When I saw this story's headline I though he was buying "whitebox" Huawei gear and stenciling a Cisco logo on it.

    If thd gear was destined for the US govt and military he would probably have got it from the PRC for $0. :)

    Not that clever apparently - just any old tat packed into old boxes with a quick buff and out the door.

    I am guessing the lack of performance or functionality alerted his unfortunate customers which would not have been a problem with huawei gear I would have thought.

    Still the acceptance testing for gear going into operational use by the military would appeared to have been MIA.

  6. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

    Why doesnt the government just buy direct from Cisco ?

    WHy do they pay a premium for bullshit ? Most resellers add no value to the product they sell, except of course charging double.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I would have thought they would be operating within a central government procurement framework either direct to Cisco or with at scale suppliers/resellers.

      Sounds like someone nickel and dimed on the Purchase Order and ended up with a pile of counterfeit kit. Esp. With the mention of multiple companies and significant online presence at Amazon/eBay.

      I’m also struggling as it would gone on maintenance too.

      Maybe others got away with it.

    2. Spazturtle Silver badge

      I suspect somebody else purchased the fake equipment, realised it was fake and decided to be cheeky and purchased real gear from a Cisco reseller and then returned the fake gear to the Cisco reseller. Then when the US gov purchased gear from the reseller they got send the fake gear.

      1. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

        Which again, raises the question... why not buy directly from the supplier and reduce the risk to zero of buying fake equipment .

        Doesnt sound very smart to introduce more risk for more money.

        1. imanidiot Silver badge

          I can think of 2 reasons:

          1. Because then the resellers start lobbing sueballs left right and center over "unfair business practices", monopolies, single sourcing, etc. (all of which is bullshit but afaik government rules basically demand that all such contracts are put out for tender and don't allow limiting to just the OEM, which means that a reseller who just happens to have made the right purchases or lucked into just the right contract at the right time might be able to offer the kit cheaper than the OEM)

          2. Because the kit required is old or ancient by anyone's standard. A lot of kit in most militaries isn't even close to cutting edge and relies on "industry proven hardware" when it was designed 30 years ago. Which means that the OEM might not even have any stock of that kit left and you're automatically required to deal with resellers who buy and sell old kit. Exactly the sort of territory where you might be able to get away with selling dodgy shit for a long time because people might put down small foibles (due to bad hardware) on it being old kit instead of it being dodgy

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            "might be able to offer the kit cheaper than the OEM)"

            Yes, resellers don't pay retail, or even wholesale prices. They buy at a rate that pretty much cuts out all the support costs incurred when selling on to a user. The re-seller than takes on all the phone support etc risks and prices accordingly. I don't know how Cisco operate, but support is usually a "cost centre" which some OEMs are happy to offload to resellers or outsource.

            1. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

              Stop trying to pretend. Firstly reseller suppor tis basically useless. Buy equipment and support direct from Cisco will always be cheaper and better. Fake equipment is just one example of the unnecessary risks of buying from third partysuppliers.

    3. AndrueC Silver badge

      Well I suppose that it means they are helping fund gainful employment. Something of a devil's advocate argument here but government spending isn't wasted if it means one less person claiming social security. And given how much money governments spend (typically the biggest single spender in the economy) that sounds like a good use of money.

      So: Buy from the manufacturer - help fund one hundred jobs. Buy from a retailer - help fund one hundred and ten jobs. Buy from a procurement service - help fund one hundred and fifty jobs.

      I suppose it all comes down to whether the extra cost to the government is more or less than the cost of more direct intervention eg; social security payments for fifty jobs.

      Or - the manufacturer is increasingly a foreign company. Retailers and procurement services often aren't. Thus at least some money is going to citizens instead of foreigners.

      1. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

        Your maths is broken.

        Wasting funds paying double for fakes is not saving jobs, its ONLY paying fat cheques to the suppliers.

  7. PhilipN Silver badge

    There's a bigger question

    Actually several.

    Was it really crap?

    If it did the job then the jail time is excessive.

    If it did not do the job then it boggles the mind it took so long for the customers to notice, or even to allow it past the initial test phase - there was one, yes?

    With that amount of money flying around - addresses the last point.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: There's a bigger question

      "If it did not do the job then it boggles the mind it took so long for the customers to notice, or even to allow it past the initial test phase - there was one, yes?"

      In thr case of the DoD, it may be that the devices slipped through a loop hole. The kit was faked up to look like new Cisco kit and if that kit was an already approved model, it might well of just gone through "on the nod" while still keeping within the rules until someone eventually had to look much more closely at it or claim on a Cisco warranty.

  8. Cliffwilliams44 Silver badge

    Moral of the story

    Someone at the DOD was buying kit off of eBay?

  9. Cliffwilliams44 Silver badge

    Why criminals fail.

    You would think, after making over $100 million, he'd have called it quits and took his money and quick flight to Brazil!

    Greed is the undoing of many!

    1. AnotherForumUser

      Re: Why criminals fail.

      Brazil? Back to Turkey - Emekli olun ve kolay gelsin!

    2. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

      Re: Why criminals fail.

      Now you know why America is failing.

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