A Virginia woman was last week sentenced to 60 months in prison for her role in leading a counterfeiting group that specialized in Cisco equipment, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
The woman, Chun-Yu Zhao of Chantilly, Va., was also charged with laundering criminal proceeds and obtaining her citizenship through fraud. She was sentenced to 60 months and also ordered to pay $2,709,238 in restitution and a $17,500 fine, and will also serve three years of supervised release following her prison term.
U.S. District Court Judge Gerald Bruce Lee also ordered that some of Zhao's assets, including cars, bank accounts and various homes and condominiums located in Maryland and Virginia, be forfeited to the U.S., and that her U.S. citizenship be stripped.
Zhao has been in federal custody since she was arrested in July 2010 by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents. In May, following a three-week trial, she was convicted by a federal jury on 16 felony counts spanning fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud, dealing in counterfeit goods, money laundering and making false statements to law enforcement.
According to court documents, Zhao and other co-conspirators based in China lied on declaration forms and used counterfeit labels and packaging to sell phony Cisco products. Zhao ran a Chantilly-based networking equipment reseller business, JDC Networking. According to court documents, she used as many as nine aliases.
A statement from the Justice Department said U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents made a criminal referral to ICE after "intercepting counterfeit products from China destined for addresses associated with Zhao, her business and her family."
Zhao's bust is the latest in a string of arrests and convictions for Cisco counterfeiters -- part of a stepped-up effort by Cisco and law enforcement agencies to crack down on the flow of phony networking gear through reseller channels. Last year, the Department of Justice revealed a large and formerly clandestine operation called Operation Network Raider that covered 700-plus products and more than $143 million in gear and more than 30 felony convictions dating back to 2005.