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Two US men charged with running phony Cisco biz

Fake serial numbers in alleged $1m haul

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Two Kansas men have been charged with making $1m in proceeds by buying computer networking gear in China and passing it off as products from Cisco Systems.

Christopher Myers, 40, and Timothy Weatherly, 27, obtained the networking gear from a variety of sources and then slapped phony Cisco labels on them, according to documents filed in federal court in Kansas City. To give the goods the additional air of legitimacy, they put them in purported Cisco boxes and included counterfeit Cisco manuals.

Myers also stands accused of obtaining access to a website containing Cisco's confidential serial numbers, so the men could affix them to the gear they sold. Prosecutors said the men sold the equipment on eBay and on private websites.

They were charged with one count of conspiracy, 30 counts of trafficking in counterfeit goods and one count of trafficking in counterfeit labels. The government is seeking forfeiture of $1m in proceeds from the alleged crimes. If convicted, the men also face a maximum of fives years in prison and $250,000 in fines. Myers made an initial appearance in court on Thursday.

Security experts have warned that counterfeit networking gear could contain back doors that allow spies to conduct industrial espionage on US companies. ®

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