Man sentenced to prison for defrauding Cisco

Two defendants returned counterfeit equipment to Cisco in exchange for legitimate parts

A Maryland man has been sentenced to seven years in prison for directing a multimillion-dollar warranty fraud scheme targeting Cisco Systems, the U.S. Department of Justice announced.

Iheanyi Frank Chinasa, 39, of Gaithersburg, Maryland, was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. Chinasa and partner Robert Kendrick Chambliss submitted 414 equipment return requests to Cisco from 2007 to 2010, with the pair sending counterfeit equipment to Cisco in exchange for replacements, according to court documents.

Cisco returned more than 950 pieces of equipment to Chinasa and Chambliss, worth about US$27 million, according to the DOJ's complaint in the case. Chinasa built the counterfeit computer networking and telecom equipment the pair returned to Cisco, the DOJ said in a press release.

Chief Judge James Spencer ordered Chinasa and Chambliss to pay nearly $18.8 million in restitution. Chinasa was convicted on Feb. 7 of one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, eight counts of mail fraud, one count of wire fraud and one count of obstruction of an official proceeding.

Chinasa and Chambliss, 31, of Henrico, Virginia, were indicted in August. Chambliss pleaded guilty on Jan. 12 to conspiring to commit mail fraud and wire fraud. He was sentenced on April 13 to 12 months and one day in prison.

Chinasa paid Chambliss $10,000 to $15,000 a month to help with the warranty fraud scheme, the DOJ said in its complaint.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

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Tags U.S. Department of JusticeNetworkingU.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginiahardware systemslegalJames SpencerRobert Kendrick ChamblissIheanyi Frank ChinasaCriminalCisco Systems

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