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Couple Arrested for Allegedly Scamming Cisco

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 25 comments

Authorities have arrested a couple who allegedly swindled Cisco out of a massive $23 million.

Mario Easevoli and his wife, Jennifer Leigh Harmon Easevoli had set up a business called Synergy Communications. PC World reports that an investigation by the FBI, the IRS and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service supposedly found that the couple, along with an accomplice who is still at large, took advantage of Cisco's SMARTnet tech support program that ships replacement parts to companies.

According to the indictment, which was unsealed this week, the group used more than 21 fake companies and 80 fake names to obtain spare parts from Cisco. The parts were shipped to private mailboxes in eight states and then sold on to others.

The two are charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud, aiding and abetting mail fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. If convicted the North Carolina-based couple face up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000 for the charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and aiding and abetting mail fraud. Conspiracy to commit money laundering carries a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in jail and fines of up to $500,000.

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Top Comments
  • 10 Hide
    jellico , October 16, 2009 7:11 PM
    lamorpaIn order of sentences quoted: True, False, False, False, False. Not a good average.

    I studied fraud examination and forensic accounting at the graduate level under a PhD who is one of only a couple of people in New Mexico who consults at an expert witness in fraud examination, and has co-authored books and case studies in conjunction with experts from the FBI. He classes were very hands on, and he frequently had guests who were private fraud examiners for corporations, as well as members of the IRS, FBI, state and local law enforcement as well as the guys who created New Mexico's Fraud Investigation Division of State Taxation and Revenue.

    I could spend many pages recounting the cases that we studied, but, in the interest of brevity let me just say this. In Albuquerque, we have around 1000 officers in the Albuquerque Police Department. Most of those are street cops. There are hundreds of detectives, most assigned to robbery, homicide, gang taskforce, auto theft, etc. For ALL white collar crime (including ID theft, fraud, embezzelment, etc.), there are exactly FIVE detectives. That's it... 5! They get hundreds (sometimes thousands) of cases a week. Most of those will never be looked at.

    This scenario was echoed by those in law enforcement at the state and federal levels, as well as by the private fraud investigators. Most of the time, when an employee is caught committing some sort of fraud, they are simply terminated. But they won't tell anyone that calls for a reference why they were terminated, they will simply say that they won't hire them again (liability issues and such). Another reason is that, if a company is the victim of a fraud that costs them millions of dollars, the damage to their reputation far exceeds their losses through fraud. A perfect example is this this discussion. Go back and look at how many people are making comments critical of Cisco. Now imagine you're an executive at Cisco. Would you really want to have a discussion about this with prospective clients?

    So, lamorpa, next time you decide to call someone out, you really should have some facts to back up what you're saying.
  • 10 Hide
    pbrigido , October 16, 2009 3:47 PM
    So they get 20 years in jail and have to pay up to $500,000. Seems like they will pocket $22.5 million in the end.

    Did they publish an how-to tutorial?
Other Comments
  • 5 Hide
    outacontrolpimp , October 16, 2009 3:31 PM
    whose synergy communications?
    i dont know but lets send them parts!
  • Display all 25 comments.
  • 4 Hide
    ssalim , October 16, 2009 3:33 PM
    Alright! Put them in jail. They deserve that! There is no easy way in life!
  • 5 Hide
    coldmast , October 16, 2009 3:35 PM
    $23 Million and they thought what Cisco is not going to wonder who the 21 fake companies are?
  • 10 Hide
    pbrigido , October 16, 2009 3:47 PM
    So they get 20 years in jail and have to pay up to $500,000. Seems like they will pocket $22.5 million in the end.

    Did they publish an how-to tutorial?
  • 7 Hide
    jellico , October 16, 2009 3:48 PM
    Fraud is very big business. In fact, it's pretty much ubiquitous. Most fraudsters are never caught. When they are caught, they are seldomly prosecuted. When they are prosecuted, they serve relatively little jail time. It's the whole risk-vs-reward issue. You can rob banks or sell drugs and risk harsh jail terms at maximum security, pound-you-in-the-ass prison, or you can commit fraud and maybe serve a few months at a minimum-security detention center (not that I'm advocating crime, I just wanted to share some of the stuff I learned from my graduate coursework in fraud investigation and forensic accounting).
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , October 16, 2009 3:48 PM
    Tech news? On my THG? What happened to the balloon boy and the rocket launcher guy?
  • 2 Hide
    kelfen , October 16, 2009 3:49 PM
    lol spaming cisco is asking for death. wounder how many geeks they have that are good with networks hmm.... tracking should be peice of cake
  • -5 Hide
    strange1889 , October 16, 2009 4:57 PM
    @ kelfen: the majority of Cisco personnel are less equipped than say a CS major whose taken 2+ networking/info classes from a top school. i've seen it quite a few times
  • -6 Hide
    lamorpa , October 16, 2009 4:59 PM
    outacontrolpimp[Who's]whose synergy [C]communications? i [don't]dont know[,] but [let's]lets send them parts!

    English please?
  • -9 Hide
    lamorpa , October 16, 2009 5:02 PM
    jellicoFraud is very big business. In fact, it's pretty much ubiquitous. Most fraudsters are never caught. When they are caught, they are seldomly prosecuted. When they are prosecuted, they serve relatively little jail time.

    In order of sentences quoted: True, False, False, False, False. Not a good average.
  • 0 Hide
    fatedtodie , October 16, 2009 5:07 PM
    kelfenlol spaming cisco is asking for death. wounder how many geeks they have that are good with networks hmm.... tracking should be peice of cake


    I guess reading isn't one of your strengths...

    SCAM not SPAM.
  • 0 Hide
    cookoy , October 16, 2009 5:08 PM
    My first thoughts were: wow! 3 gov't agencies working together in this case. How did they figure out the crime? Shhh! Trade secret. Wonder where they got the phrase "Crime does not pay"? Criminals do pay. Those who did crimes and got away, are not considered criminals, technically.
  • 1 Hide
    zak_mckraken , October 16, 2009 5:15 PM
    NobodyatallTech news? On my THG? What happened to the balloon boy and the rocket launcher guy?

    These news were on Tom's Guide, not Tom's Hardware.
  • 0 Hide
    theramman , October 16, 2009 5:21 PM
    Daymn! Sucks to be them ;)  Hell I bet Cisco is setting up some better regualtions on how there stuff works. Now if i can come up with a cleaver plan to scam ppl...
  • 0 Hide
    the_krasno , October 16, 2009 6:23 PM
    40 years in jail + $750K fine if they get convicted on all the accounts.

    They scammed about 20+ million dollars.

    $20M ÷ 40 years in jail.

    They would still get around $500K from the scam for each year they spend in jail.

    If they are sent to a federal prison, because they used mail to commit fraud, it would mean they will share their prison life with terrorists, more scammers and other types of federal criminals.

    Still.

    Does it beat having to do any actual work for 40 years to get all that money??

    It's a tough question!
  • 0 Hide
    michaelahess , October 16, 2009 6:27 PM
    Considering how easy it is to get replacements from Cisco, I'm not supprised someone found a way to do this. I just hope it doesn't make it harder for me to get replacements in the future!
  • 10 Hide
    jellico , October 16, 2009 7:11 PM
    lamorpaIn order of sentences quoted: True, False, False, False, False. Not a good average.

    I studied fraud examination and forensic accounting at the graduate level under a PhD who is one of only a couple of people in New Mexico who consults at an expert witness in fraud examination, and has co-authored books and case studies in conjunction with experts from the FBI. He classes were very hands on, and he frequently had guests who were private fraud examiners for corporations, as well as members of the IRS, FBI, state and local law enforcement as well as the guys who created New Mexico's Fraud Investigation Division of State Taxation and Revenue.

    I could spend many pages recounting the cases that we studied, but, in the interest of brevity let me just say this. In Albuquerque, we have around 1000 officers in the Albuquerque Police Department. Most of those are street cops. There are hundreds of detectives, most assigned to robbery, homicide, gang taskforce, auto theft, etc. For ALL white collar crime (including ID theft, fraud, embezzelment, etc.), there are exactly FIVE detectives. That's it... 5! They get hundreds (sometimes thousands) of cases a week. Most of those will never be looked at.

    This scenario was echoed by those in law enforcement at the state and federal levels, as well as by the private fraud investigators. Most of the time, when an employee is caught committing some sort of fraud, they are simply terminated. But they won't tell anyone that calls for a reference why they were terminated, they will simply say that they won't hire them again (liability issues and such). Another reason is that, if a company is the victim of a fraud that costs them millions of dollars, the damage to their reputation far exceeds their losses through fraud. A perfect example is this this discussion. Go back and look at how many people are making comments critical of Cisco. Now imagine you're an executive at Cisco. Would you really want to have a discussion about this with prospective clients?

    So, lamorpa, next time you decide to call someone out, you really should have some facts to back up what you're saying.
  • 4 Hide
    oneeyed , October 16, 2009 8:17 PM
    jellico, I salute you!
  • 3 Hide
    precariousgray , October 16, 2009 9:49 PM
    pbrigidoSo they get 20 years in jail and have to pay up to $500,000. Seems like they will pocket $22.5 million in the end. Did they publish an how-to tutorial?


    Actually, per the RICO act, they must forfeit all ill-gotten gains. Good to see you got thumbs-up for your dumbshit post, though.
  • 0 Hide
    dnaeye , October 17, 2009 2:58 AM
    "So, what are you in for?" "Mail fraud. How bout you?" "Drugs and murder. Want to be my girlfriend?"
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