An Australian man has been jailed for ripping off millions of dollars by selling counterfeit computer equipment. John Michael Parker, as a director of a reseller called Matrix, had an exclusive distribution deal for Canon equipment in Toowoomba, Queensland.
In 1992 the firm was contacted by McCafferty's, a bus company, which wanted to upgrade its ticketing system. Parker sold it two "super file servers" and associated equipment for AU$523,000 ($406,000), claiming it was all the latest Canon technology. In fact the boxes had been made by Matrix engineers and then had Canon badges attached.
The system worked but needed frequent maintenance and crashed frequently. Matrix continued to supply McCafferty's with IT kit and over five years and charged the company AU$2.5m ($1.94m).
In 1997 the fraud came to light when McCafferty's tendered a contract to upgrade IT systems. It emerged that Canon Australia was unaware of the agreement.
Parker was sentenced to three-and-a-half years, to be suspended after nine months, for four years. McCafferty's has already taken civil action and successfully sued Matrix for AU$3.9m ($3m). It is unlikely to retrieve any money as Matrix has gone bust.
The Toowoomba Chronicle has more. ®