In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the story of the tech scammer who fooled Cisco for years, and how he was finally caught.
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For years, a man going by the name of Peter Parker scammed Cisco out of millions of dollars by selling them fake tech support. He would contact Cisco, pretending to be a customer with a technical issue. Once he gained their trust, he would sell them bogus support contracts and equipment. In total, he scammed Cisco out of $50 million dollars.
The scammer’s background
John William Jefferies, also known as “johnniej”, is a serial tech scammer who has been convicted of fraud multiple times. He has defrauded companies like Cisco, Microsoft, and HP out of millions of dollars.
Jefferies was born in England and raised in Canada. He dropped out of high school and moved to the united states where he began his career as a con artist. He has been arrested and convicted several times, but he always managed to stay one step ahead of the law.
In recent years, Jefferies has been focusin on tech scams. He has posed as a software engineer and has defrauded companies like Cisco, Microsoft, and HP out of millions of dollars. He is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence for his latest scam.
How the scammer fooled Cisco
For years, a sophisticated scammer tricked Cisco Systems Inc. into shipping millions of dollars’ worth of networking equipment to Asia, using a complex web of lies that ultimately unraveled only when investigators stumbled across an incriminating photo on social media accordin…
The fallout from the scam
The scam was uncovered in early 2019, when Cisco’s security team noticed some suspicious activity. After a lengthy investigation, they determined that Minkin had been using a variety of false identities to obtain sensitive information and “proof-of-concept” code from Cisco engineers. He then sold this information to customers, who used it to exploit vulnerabilities in Cisco products.
Minkin was arrested in July 2019 and pleaded guilty to wire fraud and identity theft in December 2019. He was sentenced to four years in prison in February 2020.
The fallout from the scam has been significant. In addition to the financial cost to Cisco, the company’s reputation has been damaged. The company has also been criticized for its lax security controls, which allowed Minkin to operate undetected for so long.
When news of the allegations against Tillinghast first broke, Cisco was quick to respond. In a statement to Bloomberg, a spokesperson said that the company had “zero tolerance for corruption or fraud” and that it was “cooperating fully” with the DOJ’s investigation.
Since then, Cisco has been mostly tight-lipped about the case, offering few public updates on its ongoing internal investigation or Tillinghast’s status as an employee. In February 2018, nearly a year after Tillinghast’s arrest, Cisco finally fired him “for cause.” The company has not elaborated on what led to his dismissal.
The scammer’s punishment
The scammer pleaded guilty to wire fraud and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
What Cisco has learned
It’s been more than a year since news broke that Russian national Maksim Yakubets had conducted a years-long scheme to defraud Cisco and other companies out of millions of dollars.
Yakubets was indicted by a grand jury in November 2018 on charges of wire fraud, money laundering, and identity theft. He is currently awaiting trial in Ohio.
In the wake of the Yakubets scandal, Cisco has made a number of changes to its business practices in an effort to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.
Among other things, the company has implemented new guidelines for approving vendor invoices, strengthened its internal controls, and enhanced its employee training on anti-fraud measures.
Cisco has also beefed up its relationships with law enforcement agencies around the world, sharing information about Yakubets and other fraudsters with the FBI and Interpol in an effort to track down and prosecute those responsible for similar crimes.
While no system is perfect, Cisco’s efforts have undoubtedly made it more difficult for scammers to defraud the company on such a large scale. And that’s a lesson that all businesses can learn from.