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Intellectual Property Rights

Maryland man sentenced to nearly 3 years in prison for importing and selling counterfeit Cisco computer networking equipment

WASHINGTON — A Maryland man was sentenced last Thursday to 30 months in prison for his role in a sophisticated conspiracy to import and sell counterfeit Cisco-branded computer networking equipment. This sentence is the result of an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Donald H. Cone, 48, of Frederick, Md., has also been ordered to pay $143,300 in restitution and to serve three years of supervised release following his prison term. A federal jury convicted Cone and a co-conspirator, Chun-Yu Zhao of Chantilly, Va., in May 2011 after a three-week trial. Zhao will be sentenced on Sept. 9, 2011.

According to evidence introduced at the trial, Zhao, Cone and Zhao's family members in China operated a large-scale counterfeit computer networking equipment business under the names of JDC Networking Inc. and Han Tong Technology (Hong Kong) Limited.

JDC Networking Inc., located in Virginia, altered Cisco products by using pirated software to create labels and packaging in order to mislead consumers into believing the products it sold were genuine Cisco products. To evade detection, Zhao used various names and addresses in importation documents, and hid millions of dollars of counterfeit proceeds through a web of bank accounts and real estate held in the names of family members in China.

In addition to HSI, this case was also investigated by the General Services Administration, Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

CBP made a criminal referral to HSI after intercepting counterfeit products from China destined for addresses associated with Cone, Zhao and JDC Networking Inc.

This National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) is one of the U.S. government's key weapons in the fight against criminal counterfeiting and piracy. As a task force, 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.