A Florida resident was sentenced to 78 months in prison this week for a scheme selling counterfeit computer software that ended up being used by the Army, Navy and Air Force, among others.

Onur Aksoy, 40, was sentenced at the start of May for selling tens of thousands of counterfeit Cisco computer software to several entities in the United States, including parts of the U.S. military’s supply chains. Aksoy, who holds dual American and Turkish citizenship, sold the computer gear for nearly a decade, with the knock off products — made to look like the legitimate thing — winding up being used in “highly sensitive governmental applications, such as classified information systems.”

According to the Department of Justice, Aksoy’s counterfeit Cisco devices were found on military bases, used in “combat and non-combat operations” by the Army, Navy and Air Force. That included being used in flight simulators for the U.S. Air Force’s F-15 and U.S. Navy’s P-8 aircraft. They were additionally located in supporting systems for aircraft such as the F-18, F-22 and B-52 aircraft.

Aksoy used several companies and fronts under the name Pro Network Entities to sell low quality or dysfunctional computer software packages that were imported from China and Hong Kong. As part of the scheme the counterfeiters used fake Cisco labels to make the packages appear brand new. The indictment against Aksoy said that if all of the counterfeit items sold were real, they would have been worth $1 billion.

“His operation introduced tens of thousands of counterfeit and low-quality devices trafficked from China into the U.S. supply chain, jeopardizing both private-sector and public-sector users, including highly sensitive U.S. military applications like the support platforms of U.S. fighter jets and other military aircraft,” Attorney for the United States Vikas Khanna for the District of New Jersey said in the announcement of Aksoy’s sentencing. 

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The scam went on for years, with Aksoy even receiving cease and desist letters from Cisco between 2014-2019. A warehouse he used was raised in 2021 and he was charged in 2022. Aksoy pleaded guilty to the charges in June 2023. As part of his plea, he agreed to pay $100 million to Cisco. Additional restitution to victims will be determined later. 

Neither the Department of Justice or Department of Defense said how Aksoy’s fake Cisco components ended up in the hands of the military, or where in the supply chain they originated from. It’s not clear how many aircraft or military facilities were impacted by the faulty and counterfeit products. Nor is it clear how long the military was using these pieces before stopping. 

“Mr. Aksoy’s sentencing brings closure to his years-long, greed-driven scheme that wasted U.S. taxpayer dollars and degraded our nation’s military readiness when he and his companies knowingly defrauded the Department of Defense by introducing counterfeit products into its supply chain that routinely failed or did not work at all,” Special Agent in Charge Bryan D. Denny with DoD’s Office of Inspector General, Defense Criminal Investigative Service Western Field Office said. 

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