Supplier Of Fake Intel Chips Denies Being Original Source

Late last week, the first claims surfaced that Newegg had sold fake Intel processors after customers posted photos and videos on the Internet showing non-functional chip and heat sink lookalikes packaged in fake Core i7-logoed boxes. On Tuesday, Ipex's Cathy Liu e-mailed the following statement:

"Ipex has been supplying computer components to the technology industry for over 10 years with the goal of providing quality products and services to our customers. Recently we were referenced in connection with some counterfeit Intel Core i7 920 Microprocessors sold within the US market. While we purchased these products in good faith from a supplier we are very disappointed to learn of the questionable status of these products and are taking appropriate action to resolve the issue for any impacted Ipex client as well as are fully cooperating with Intel's investigation in to determining the original source."

Asked by e-mail to name the "original source" of the fake chips cited in the Ipex statement, Liu replied that Ipex had disclosed that information to Intel but could not comment on it publicly.

Meanwhile, Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel is letting Newegg handle the fallout from the scam, an Intel legal affairs spokesperson said Tuesday.

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Dan Snyder, an Intel spokeseman for legal affairs, said that from Intel's perspective, "the ball is really in Newegg's court now" and that Intel wasn't currently pursuing any legal action against parties that might have been involved in the fraud. Snyder said that Newegg was handling customer care admirably in the aftermath of the scam.

"Newegg has been really supportive to us and we've been speaking to them several times a day," he said. "They're immediately responsive to any customer that comes to them."

Ipex's Web site,, was up on Monday but was not working Tuesday after Newegg's allegations surfaced. called Fremont police to ask if an investigation into the scam was in the offing, but the call had not been returned by midday Tuesday.

ASI Corp., a Fremont, Calif.-based hardware distributor that shares "some common shareholders" with neighboring company Ipex Infotech, said it played no part in the scam and was cooperating with Intel in the chip maker's investigation.

"ASI does not own Ipex. That is not the case. They're a completely separate company. Ipex is not in any meetings with [us] with Intel or any other manufacturer that we have. Ipex is a competitor," said Kent Tibbils, vice president of marketing at ASI.

"If you ask our sales people, they'd identify Ipex as a competitor, just like many other companies in the computer industry."

Intel did contact ASI after news of the fake processor shipments broke, Tibbils said.

"We have been in contact with Intel. We're working with them on their investigation on this particular model. We're cooperating in regards to what Intel's asking us," Tibbils said. "ASI is not being investigated by Intel. They're asking questions because of the same shareholder relationship, but none of those [fake] products came from us."

In fact, ASI does not even carry the Core i7-920 processors that Ipex allegedly sold to customers through Newegg, according to Tibbils, who stressed his company's longstanding relationship with Intel.

"We have to go through a lot to become an authorized distributor. We are an authorized distributor [for Intel]. Integrity of the product is very important to us," Tibbils said.

Intel's Snyder said would not comment on which companies Intel had contacted in the course of investigating the matter.