Cisco counterfeiter gets 30-months in jail

Counterfeit Cisco gear a criminal draw

The Department of Justice today said Donald Cone of Frederick, Md., was sentenced to 30 months in prison for his role in a sophisticated conspiracy to import and sell counterfeit Cisco network equipment.

A federal jury convicted Cone -- who was also ordered to pay $143,300 in restitution -- and a co-conspirator, Chun-Yu Zhao in May 2011 after a three-week trial.  Zhao will be sentenced on Sept. 9, 2011. 

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The DoJ said that according to the evidence introduced at trial, Zhao, Cone and Zhao's family members in China operated a large-scale counterfeit computer networking equipment business under the names of JDC Networking Inc. and Han Tong Technology (Hong Kong) Limited. 

JDC Networking Inc., located in Virginia, altered Cisco products by using pirated software, and created labels and packaging in order to mislead consumers into believing the products it sold were genuine Cisco products, the DoJ stated.  

To evade detection, the DoJ said Zhao used various names and addresses in importation documents, and hid millions of dollars of counterfeit proceeds through a web of bank accounts and real estate held in the names of family members in China.

The sentence is similar to another China-based counterfeit case in 2010 where a Chinese man Yongcai Li, got a two-and-a-half year prison sentence for trafficking in counterfeit Cisco Systems gear.

Li had to pay the networking company nearly $800,000 in restitution after being the conduit for hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of counterfeit computer hardware, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said in an IDG News Service story.

Counterfeit Cisco gear has been the target of US law enforcement for a number of years now.  Last year the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security said an ongoing operations known as Network Raider had resulted in 30 felony convictions and more than 700 seizures of counterfeit Cisco network hardware with an estimated value of more than $143 million.

Follow Michael Cooney on Twitter: nwwlayer8  

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