CEO Gets 6 Years for Selling Counterfeit Equipment that Ended up on Fighter Jets

An F-15E Strike Eagle fighter jet takes to the sky from Jacksonville’s 125th Fighter Wing, Fla.
An F-15E Strike Eagle fighter jet takes to the sky from Jacksonville’s 125th Fighter Wing, Fla., May 22, 2018. (Staff Sgt. Carlynne DeVine/U.S. National Guard photo)

The CEO of dozens of companies, including some in New Jersey, was sentenced to more than six years in prison after pleading guilty last summer to selling hundreds of millions of dollars worth of counterfeit networking equipment that made its way into sensitive places including U.S. fighter jets, federal authorities said Thursday.

Onur Aksoy, 40, of Miami, Florida, pleaded guilty in U.S. district court on June 5, 2023, to two counts of conspiring with others to traffic in counterfeit goods, to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, authorities said. Aksoy, who was also known as Ron Aksoy and Dave Durden, was sentenced Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Peter G. Sheridan in Trenton federal court.

"Through an elaborate, years-long scheme, Aksoy created and ran one of the largest counterfeit-trafficking operations ever," U.S. Attorney Vikas Khanna said. "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."

Federal prosecutors said Aksoy, who also holds citizenship in Turkey, sold hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of counterfeit Cisco networking equipment that made its way into schools, hospitals and onto fighter jets such as the F-15, F-18 and F-22.

Some of the equipment made its way into highly sensitive areas of the federal government, including combat and non-combat operations in the Air Force, U.S. Army and Navy, and even touched classified information systems, authorities said.

Aksoy was accused of running at least 19 companies spread across New Jersey and Florida. Prosecutors said he sold the devices through a network of companies on Amazon and eBay under an umbrella company called Pro Network Entities. Five of those companies were formed in New Jersey in 2017 and 2018; Easy Network, Ace Netus, My Network Dealer, 1701 Doral and Team Tech Global, according to the federal indictment.

Authorities said Aksoy imported low-quality equipment from suppliers in China and Hong Kong with counterfeit Cisco labels, stickers and boxes that gave the appearance of high-quality branding and trademarks. According to court records, the equipment was typically older, lower-models of authentic Cisco equipment that was modified and then made to appear as a genuine version of higher-quality devices.

"We applaud the decisive action taken by the U.S. Department of Justice and all of the U.S. law enforcement agencies involved for their investigative actions, the successful indictment, and the diligent work that led to today's outcome," a spokesperson for Cisco said in a statement sent to NJ Advance Media Thursday.

The scheme generated over $100 million in revenue, netting Aksoy millions of dollars in personal profits, officials said.

Between 2014 and 2022 the federal Customs and Border Protection Agency seized approximately 180 shipments to Pro Network Entities sent from China and Hong Kong, and Aksoy submitted false paperwork to the CBP for the shipments under the alias Dave Durden, the identity he used to communicate with foreign conspirators, officials said.

Cisco sent seven Cease and Desist letters to Aksoy between 2014 to 2019 and through his attorney responded to at least two letters with forged documents, authorities said. In July 2021, federal investigators raided Aksoy's warehouse and seized 1,156 counterfeit devices valued at over $7 million.

In addition to his prison term, Aksoy was fined $40,000 and must spend three years on supervised release, officials said. Restitution will be decided at a separate hearing, according to authorities.

An attorney for Aksoy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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