News and Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

WEDNESDAY - September 29, 2010

HUSBAND, WIFE AND CO-CONSPIRATOR SENTENCED FOR PARTICIPATION

IN $23 MILLION MAIL FRAUD AND MONEY LAUNDERING SCHEME

RALEIGH - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that in federal court today United States District Judge Terrence W. Boyle sentenced three defendants for their part in a scheme that bilked Cisco Systems, Inc., out of over $20 million. MARIO EASEVOLI, 33, of Port Charlotte, Florida, was sentenced to 151 months’ imprisonment followed by three years’ supervised release. His wife, JENNIFER EASEVOLI, 29, of Oro Valley, Arizona, received 108 months’ imprisonment followed by three years’ supervised release. The third defendant, JASON ALLAN CONWAY, 34, of Hendersonville, North Carolina, received 48 months’ imprisonment followed by three years’ supervised release. All three defendants were ordered to pay $21,715,844.00 in restitution.

A Federal Grand Jury returned a Criminal Indictment on September 9, 2009 charging the defendants. All three defendants pled guilty to conspiring to commit money laundering, in violation of Title 18, United State Code, Section 1956(h). Additionally, CONWAY and MARIO EASVOLI pled guilty to conspiring to commit mail fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349.

Cisco, a San Jose, California-based company, that is considered a leader in the design and manufacturing of computer network routers and other equipment, offers SMARTnet, a contract service covering Cisco equipment, that allows end users to obtain technical support and advance replacement parts. Advance replacement allows end users to obtain replacement parts immediately without having to return the failed or defective part first.SMARTnet contracts are not transferable and benefit the original end user only.However, if the covered product is transferred to another party, the new owner has the option to register the part with Cisco to obtain a new SMARTnet contract.

MARIO and JENNIFER EASEVOLI, also known as Jennifer Leigh Harmon, were doing business as Synergy Communications Corporation (Synergy). MARIO EASEVOLI was founder and president of Synergy; JENNIFER EASEVOLI, served as vice president of the company; and co-defendant, CONWAY, was an agent and employee. According to the Indictment, from approximately January, 2003, to July, 2005, the defendants submitted fraudulent claims to Cisco in order to receive replacement parts under SMARTnet contract. They then sold these replacement parts on the grey market to downstream customers, depositing the payments into a Synergy bank account. After creating more than 50 fictitious company names and 35 fictitious personal names, the defendants instructed Cisco to ship replacement parts to private mailboxes the defendants obtained at UPS stores, as well as residential and commercial addresses in seven states.

Mr. Holding commented, “Many companies today continue to support their customers in honest transactions. Unfortunately, people, such as these defendants, try to take advantage of a company, dishonestly working the system to receive money or merchandise in which they are not entitled. I emphasize ‘try to take advantage of a company,’ because we will continue to support law enforcement at all levels as they identify those who make a living through dishonest means.”

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,” said Owen D. Harris, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in North Carolina. “Billions of dollars are lost each year to hackers who think they won’t get caught operating in cyberspace. We have the technology and the expertise to track down the criminals and hold them accountable.”

"The object of schemes like these is to defraud the government and the taxpaying public. IRS special agents identified and investigated the individuals involved in the scheme and the results help promote justice and confidence in our tax system. Honest taxpayers need to know there are consequences for those who intentionally violate our country's tax laws," stated Jeannine A. Hammett, Special Agent in Charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division.

Investigation of this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation,the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations, and the United States Postal Inspection Service. Assistant United States Attorney Thomas Murphy represented the government.

News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney’s web page at www.usdoj.gov/usao/nce

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