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Feds: Couple defrauded Cisco of $23M

Posted October 14, 2009

— A Triangle couple has been charged in a scheme to defraud Cisco Systems Inc. of more than $23 million, authorities said Wednesday.

Mario Easevoli, 33, and his wife, Jennifer Leigh Harmon Easevoli, 28, were arrested in Tucson, Ariz., on Sept. 28 and charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud, aiding and abetting mail fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

A third person charged in the case, Jason Allan Conway, 33, hasn't been arrested yet.

Mario Easevoli was the founder and president of Synergy Communications Corp., his wife served as company vice president and Conway was a company employee, authorities said.

An investigation by the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service determined the three used dozens of fake names and fictitious companies to obtain replacement parts from Cisco, a leading manufacturer of routers and other computer network equipment. The parts were shipped to private mailboxes at UPS stores in eight states, authorities said.

The replacement parts were provided under a Cisco program that allows customers to obtain technical support and parts without first returning a failed or defective part. Authorities allege that the Easevolis and Conway submitted fraudulent claims for replacement parts between January 2003 and July 2005 and then sold the parts to others, depositing the proceeds into a Synergy bank account.

“When individuals resort to making their living through fraudulent schemes, all consumers pay the price," U.S. Attorney George Holding said in a statement. "In order for the company to stay in business, they must raise the price of their goods and services to sustain their
losses.”

31 Comments

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  • neasevoli Oct 15, 11:37 a.m.

    This is my dad.. I cant believe he would do something like this, I was wondering if u guys know that in the fed system when they allow visitors.. I really want to see him and stop talking bad about him. he is the smartest man i know and that i love, hes very intelligent.. hes not a bad person. he used his intelligence for the wrong thing. I love u dad.

  • howdiditgettothis Oct 14, 7:27 p.m.

    there will always be bad apples that spoil the whole bunch.

    many businesses operate this way -- so don't blame them for providing good customer service.

    i hope they are prosecuted to the full extent of the law, and that they are able to recover the stolen money.

  • protestthis Oct 14, 6:02 p.m.

    gsmith and a few others here have no clue how this works and shouldn't be commenting on things that they know nothing about.

    I won't tell you how many times i've been contacted from "other" vendors about a cheaper solution to cisco's maintenance program. I refuse to deal with them and this is the exact reason why.
    I deal with cisco directly. No middleman.

  • hiyadun Oct 14, 5:53 p.m.

    does anybody else see Mario's resemblance to Scott Baio-LOL!

  • whateveryousay Oct 14, 5:49 p.m.

    gsmith--- you do realize the size of Cisco. And you are more likely than not using something of Cisco's in some capacity as we speak, or at least in your day to day.

    Do a little R&R... Savvy?

  • peacebee Oct 14, 5:22 p.m.

    gsmith, have you ever heard of a honeypot? No...didn't think so, not in tech terms anyway...could be the thieves were given enough rope to hang themselves effectively. Way to go Cisco! Good catch, and keep up the good work.

  • pbjbeach Oct 14, 5:12 p.m.

    If the feds are really instrested in finding an procuting fraud why dont they investigate the ncdot an i feel sure that they will find plenty of work to keep them busy. an then when they finish there they need to investigate the various an numberous state senators an respresentives along with all of the sentors an respresentive on capitol hill in d c thank you

  • UNC PH.d Oct 14, 5:05 p.m.

    Gsmith, you sound like an anti-Cisco mole. Cisco makes the world go round buddy, get used to it.

    All vendors, besides Cisco, maintain the same type of return maintenance agreement, they have to when multi-national businesses (and governments) rely on their equipment and time is critical. They can't wait for the bad equipment to be turned in.

    Besides, Cisco equipment has the lowest fail rate in the industry.

    However, Cisco should have had better auditing to check the validity of the fake companies these people set up.

  • str8-line Oct 14, 4:58 p.m.

    foghat4545 - i knew it must have been something like this that took Nortel down. I was laid after 15 years of dedicated service. So maybe I can find them and get my retirement money back.

  • 5-113 FA Retired Oct 14, 4:57 p.m.

    I could understand a company compromising a few thousand dollars before any red flares go up, but 23 Million? Sounds like someone was asleep at the wheel. It's no wonder that krap costs so much! As for me, I'll continue NOT using Cisco equipment and stay with a more reputable provider.

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