Couple gets prison time for defrauding Cisco Systems
Posted September 29, 2010 6:17 p.m. EDT
Updated September 30, 2010 2:31 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — A former Triangle couple and a Hendersonville man were sentenced Wednesday to federal prison for hatching a scheme to defraud Cisco Systems Inc. of more than $20 million, authorities said.
Mario Easevoli, 33,of Port Charlotte, Fla., was sentenced to 12½ years in prison, while Jennifer Easevoli, 29, of Oro Valley, Ariz., was sentenced to nine years in prison. Jason Allan Conway, 34, received a four-year sentence.
They also were ordered to pay Cisco a total of $21.7 million in restitution.
All three pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering, and Mario Easevoli and Conway also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud.
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 Easevolis and Conway 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. Synergy Communications submitted fraudulent claims for replacement parts between January 2003 and July 2005 and then sold the parts to others, depositing the proceeds into a company bank account.
“These crimes may seem intangible to the general public, but when companies lose millions of dollars to hackers who socially engineer scams, customers end up paying the price,” Owen Harris, special agent-in-charge of the FBI in North Carolina, said in a statement.