Chinese Man Gets 30 Months for Fake Cisco Sales

A Chinese man was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in a U.S. prison this week for trafficking in counterfeit Cisco Systems gear.

Yongcai Li, 33, will also have to pay the networking company nearly US$800,000 in restitution after being the conduit for hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of counterfeit computer hardware, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation said Friday.

Li, also known as Michael Lee, did business using the company name Gaoyi Tech, according to court filings. Prosecutors said he procured the fake gear in China and then sent it to co-conspirators in the U.S. His alleged co-conspirators have not been charged, the FBI said.

Li was arrested by FBI agents on Jan. 9, 2009, in Las Vegas -- while the annual Consumer Electronics Show was taking place there. He was sentenced on Monday in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, after pleading guilty to one count of trafficking in counterfeit goods last September.

The FBI has been cracking down on fake Cisco routers since 2005. Two years ago, it claimed to have seized more than US$78 million worth of counterfeit equipment in more than 400 seizures. Counterfeit gear often contains lower-performing components that do not work as advertised. In recent years, some security experts have begun to see counterfeiting as a growing threat to the nation's network infrastructure.

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