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Intellectual Property Rights

Kansas man sentenced for smuggling counterfeit Cisco computer equipment

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A local man was sentenced on Monday to 27 months in federal prison for selling $1 million worth of counterfeit Cisco Systems Inc. computer equipment, announced U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom, District of Kansas. The sentence resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the FBI.

Timothy Weatherly, 29, Overland Park, Kan., pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to traffic in counterfeit goods and making false statements in order to smuggle goods into the United States.

In his guilty plea, Weatherly admitted he operated a business called Deals Direct Inc. from his home in Overland Park and a warehouse in Merriam, Kan. Beginning in 2005 and continuing through Nov. 14, 2006, the company imported computer equipment from China. The conspirators put counterfeit Cisco labels on the equipment and placed the counterfeit goods in Cisco boxes with counterfeit Cisco manuals. The counterfeit equipment was sold as genuine Cisco equipment on Deals Direct's website and on the eBay computer shopping website.

The conspirators obtained access to Cisco's confidential serial number verification website to obtain legitimate serial numbers. Working with a manufacturer in Hong Kong, the conspirators used multiple shippers and other methods to attempt to keep shipments from being seized by customs officials. When investigators served a search warrant Nov. 8, 2006, in Merriam, Kan., they found hundreds of counterfeit Cisco labels, stickers, boxes and documentation, as well as thousands of counterfeit Cisco goods.

Co-defendant Christopher Meyers was sentenced earlier this year to 33 months in federal prison.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Rask, District of Kansas, prosecuted the case in cooperation with the Justice Department's Task Force on Intellectual Property (IP Task Force).

The investigation was conducted by the IPR Center. The IPR Center is one of the U.S. government's key weapons in the fight against criminal counterfeiting and piracy. This criminal investigation is part of the IPR Center's groundbreaking "Operation In Our Sites," which targets the online sale of counterfeit and pirated commodities. The IPR Center uses the expertise of its 19 member agencies to share information, develop initiatives, coordinate enforcement actions, and conduct investigations related to IP theft. Through this strategic interagency partnership, the IPR Center protects the public's health and safety, the U.S. economy and the war fighters.

To report IP theft or to learn more about the IPR Center, visit www.IPRCenter.gov.