Tech Scammer Who Fooled Cisco, Microsoft and Lenovo Out of Millions Jailed For Over Seven Years
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Register: A scammer who convinced some of the world’s biggest tech businesses to send him replacement kit has been sentenced to seven years and eight months in the U.S. prison system. Justin David May, 31, used stolen hardware serial numbers, a plethora of fake websites and online identities, social engineering tactics, and a network of associates, to scam Cisco out of nearly $3.5m in hardware in just 12 months. Microsoft lost 137 Surface laptops (retail cost $364,761) to the crew, with Lenovo US also losing 137 replacement hard drives worth $143,000 and APC (formerly American Power Conversion) getting scammed out of a few uninterruptible power supplies. May pled guilty to 42 counts of mail fraud, 10 counts of money laundering, three counts of interstate transportation of goods obtained by fraud, and two counts of tax evasion.

In the largest scam against Cisco, run from April 2016, according to court documents [PDF] filed in eastern district court of Pennsylvania, May and the team set up domains and email addresses to mimic user IDs and harvested serial numbers of legit machinery. They then used these to trick Cisco into sending out replacement kit, such as a Cisco Catalyst 3850-48P-E Switch worth around $21,000 at the time, and a couple of Cisco ASR 9001 routers priced at over $100,000 for the pair. The same scam worked well for Microsoft and Lenovo too, it seems. The court docs note that May was skilled at picking imaginary faults that weren’t remotely repairable, such as basic software issues, but which were more obvious as serious flaws needing a replacement unit. In addition the crew digitally altered images of their supposed kit and serial numbers to fool support staff. Once the hardware was received, usually via UPS or FedEx, the companies never got the faulty kit back because it never existed. Meanwhile the packages were picked up, sold on eBay and other second-hand sites, and the cash pocketed, or in the case of Microsoft, some of the hardware shipped to Singapore for resale.

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