SELLING KNOCKOFFS of Cisco networking gear has landed Chun-Yu Zhao a five year stint in prison and a $2.7m fine.
Zhao's company, JDC Networking, had been flogging the dodgy Cisco kit for some time, with the US Department of Justice (DoJ) saying it was a sophisticated operation to import and sell counterfeit Cisco equipment. It certainly wasn't that sophisticated as Zhao did get caught, but not before she amassed quite a collection of homes and cars.
US District Court Judge for the Eastern District of Virginia Gerald Bruce Lee not only handed down the five year prison term and the fine but also ordered Zhao to forfeit four homes, three condominiums, two Porsches, a Mercedes and seven bank accounts that contained more than $1.6m. Judge Lee also stripped Zhao of her US citizenship.
Court documents showed that Zhao's family members and other co-conspirators in China had lied on import declaration forms. The DoJ claims they used counterfeit labels and packaging that would mislead customers.
Back in May a jury convicted Zhao of 16 felony counts, including obtaining citizenship by fraud, money laundering and making false statements to law enforcement. The DoJ claims that Zhao made millions from her operation and laundered the money through a number of bank accounts.
Technology firms are becoming increasing concerned about counterfeit hardware originating in Asia. The DoJ and Judge Lee have demonstrated that those who peddle knockoff hardware can expect both imprisonment and stiff financial penalties. µ