Local News

Couple pleads guilty to defrauding Cisco Systems

Posted April 19, 2010 9:43 a.m. EDT

— A Triangle couple has pleaded guilty to participating in a scheme to defraud Cisco Systems Inc. of more than $22 million.

Mario Easevoli, 33, pleaded guilty in Tucson, Ariz., to conspiracy to commit mail fraud, while his wife, Jennifer Leigh Harmon Easevoli, 28, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering.

A third person charged in the case, Jason Allan Conway, 33, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to commit mail fraud.

All three will be sentenced later.

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 couple 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. 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.