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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Michigan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, October 31, 2016

Oak Park Man Sentenced for Defrauding Cisco Systems

An Oak Park engineer was sentenced yesterday to 21 months in prison for illegally obtaining $400,000 in computer equipment in a wire fraud scheme, U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced.

McQuade was joined in the announcement by David P. Gelios, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

U.S. District Judge Robert H. Cleland imposed sentence on Lahai Charles, 36, former employee of Federal-Mogul Corporation.  Judge Cleland also imposed a two-year term of supervised release and ordered Charles to pay $414,000 in restitution to Cisco Systems, Inc. and $3,100 to Federal-Mogul.  Charles pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in June.

According to court records, Charles was employed in Southfield by Federal-Mogul Corporation as an IT networking engineer.  Federal-Mogul is a supplier of parts to businesses in the automotive industry and other sectors.  Charles managed network switches for a number of Federal-Mogul offices in North America and South America.  Cisco Systems, Inc., a computer technology company based in San Jose, California, provided computer equipment and support services to Federal-Mogul’s IT operations.  During a 15-month period, Charles used his position at Federal-Mogul to exploit Cisco’s programs to provide IT support services to its large corporate customers.  He obtained Cisco IT equipment through a series of false statements to Cisco and then sold the equipment to third parties through a secondary market broker.  He did this to enrich himself, spending some of the funds on several personal trips to South America.

The case was investigated by the FBI, with assistance from Cisco Systems and Federal-Mogul, and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Hiyama.

Updated October 31, 2016