Feds charge NA man for role in one of nation’s largest-ever counterfeit networking scams

A North Arlington man was arrested Friday, May 20, on charges of participating in a multimillion-dollar conspiracy to traffic counterfeit computer-networking devices, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.

Musa Karaman, 35, is charged by complaint with one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. He appeared by videoconference today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cathy L. Waldor in Newark federal court and was released on $300,000 unsecured bond.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

From at least September 2017 through May 2021, Karaman, Israfil “David” Demir and another an uncharged conspirator, formed and operated numerous entities in the business of selling computer networking equipment, particularly, networking devices manufactured by Cisco Systems Inc., a major U.S. technology conglomerate.

Although Karaman and his conspirators advertised the Cisco products they offered for sale as new and genuine, the products were in fact counterfeit Cisco devices the conspirators procured from various illicit suppliers in China.

In May 2021, federal agents executed a search warrant at a Woodland Park warehouse Karaman and his conspirators used as their business headquarters and discovered thousands of counterfeit Cisco devices, including 7,260 counterfeit Cisco transceivers with a total manufacturer’s suggested retail price of approximately $13.77 million.

Cisco informed law enforcement officials this is one of the largest volumes of counterfeit Cisco transceivers ever seized in the United States, and the total value of the seized counterfeit Cisco transceivers was unprecedented.

From September 2017 to May 2021, U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized approximately $3.8 million worth of counterfeit Cisco products contained in over 20 shipments sent by illicit China-based suppliers to various locations under the control of Karaman and his conspirators, including their warehouse and home addresses, often under bogus names.

Demir was charged by criminal complaint May 26, 2021, in this matter.

The conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud count carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of either $250,000 or twice the gain or loss from the offense, whichever is greatest.

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