Cisco counterfeiter sentenced

Kansas dealer gets 27 months in the pokey

A Kansas man was sentenced this week after pleading guilty to selling counterfeit Cisco networking products. Timothy Weatherly, 29, of Overland Park, KS, received 27 months in federal prison for an elaborate, eight year scheme that acquired products from China and attached Cisco logos to them.

Forbes has the rundown of the operation here. Apparently, Weatherly and his accomplice, Christopher Myers of Leawood, KS, ignored early warnings that investigators were onto them.

Myers pled guilty and was sentenced to 33 months in prison back in July.

The pair ran an online company called Deals Direct. Deals Direct imported goods from China, dressed them up with Cisco labels, and Cisco look-alike packaging and documentation. The company then sold the bogus gear on eBay.  After some of it was seized in Oregon, the pair then had the counterfeit gear shipped to a variety of destinations in an attempt to avoid further detection; they also gained access to Cisco's serial number verification Web site so customers could "register" and "authenticate" their purchases.

Federal agents caught up to them again though. After seizing more gear, they raided the Deals Direct warehouse, discovering not only the bogus gear but the fake labels, packaging and documentation. In 2009, Myers and Weatherly were charged with one count of conspiracy, one count of trafficking in counterfeit labels, and 30 counts of trafficking in counterfeit goods.  Both faced a maximum of 10 years and fines of $2 million on the trafficking counts, and a maximum of five years and $250,000 on the conspiracy charge.

Both pled guilty to lesser charges in late 2010.

This just the latest in a long string of counterfeiting and fraud schemes involving Cisco equipment. In September, a Virginia woman was sentenced to five years in prison for leading a conspiracy to import and sell counterfeit Cisco networking equipment. A Maryland man was also convicted of conspiracy in that case - he received a 30-month sentence.

Another Maryland man received a seven year sentence after he and an accomplice operated a scheme to illicitly obtain Cisco products through a warranty replacement program. They manufactured counterfeit Cisco gear and then contacted Cisco to request replacement parts by claiming the equipment didn't operate properly.

Last fall, a husband/wife team from Arizona received stiff prison sentences after being found guilty of defrauding Cisco out of $20 million in a similar equipment replacement/resale scheme. And earlier this year, a Massachusetts man received four years for defrauding Cisco out of $15 million to fund a classic car collection.

And in mid-2010, a federal sting called Operation Network Raider resulted in 30 felony convictions and more than 700 seizures of counterfeit Cisco network hardware with an estimated value of more than $143 million.

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