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back to article Woman admits she helped sell bogus chips for military gear

A Florida woman has admitted she helped sell millions of dollars worth of counterfeit computer chips for use by the US military. Stephanie A. McCloskey, 38, of Clearwater, Florida, pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of conspiracy for her role in the scheme, which netted $15.9 million over three years. The chips, which …

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Silver badge
FAIL

Reminds me of a Montreal electronics wholesaler ...

who used to buy sub-spec chips and then re-brand them suggesting they, too, were of Mil-spec grade.

Then they sold them surreptitiously to China.

The international con job was discovered when a Communist China pilot checked out his aircraft and flew to TaiWan where the Americans did a tear down!

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Anonymous Coward

potential excuse

Maybe I can use this case as an excuse when one of my designs fail... "Curse you counterfeit parts; messing up my perfectly valid circuit design!" Unfortunatly I don't see how it could explain the $3k computer I fried by hooking it to 12V instead of 5V. Could someone dig up an article on the dangers of improperly calibrated bench power supplies?

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Joke

If you've got a non-techie boss...

That sounds a lot like a problem with your AC power.

To explain: you know how AC power is a wave that goes up and down?

Well sometimes your line's at a point in the wave where it isn't 240V. So you turn it on and suddenly you've only got 115V! In your case it was almost exactly 100V, meaning that the 12v rail was providing only 5V- causing a massive current draw and blowing up your machine.

You don't notice this effect because of momentum (the wave doesn't go up and down that much at the socket because the electrons can't get jiggled fast enough thanks to an injection of "heavy electricity",which is like invisible lead soup in electric cables- you may have seen electricians adding Visible Heavy Electricity (or "hot solder") to wires that were short of it), but your socket was clearly poorly fed by the Heavy Electricity sources it needs so the voltage changed too much.

Wow, I've got too much time on my hands.

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Headmaster

Dead Cert

"Marks stamped on the chips are intended to certify that they are certified for use in military systems."

Is the certification that certifies they're certified also certified?

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Go

Not all bad...

She can get a job at Dell!

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Bronze badge
Black Helicopters

If she received only $166,141 in salary

Over 3 years that's only $50k a year so she hardly seems to be a big player in this, how come no mention of the people actually making the money out of it? or was she just the one who took the blame with the promise of a nice pay-off after leaving jail if she keeps her mouth shut?

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Silver badge
IT Angle

Could've been worse

> When the company received complaints about the

> quality of the chips, the preferred response was

> to offer the customer replacements.

So, they were more customer-oriented than Dell then, eh?

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Silver badge
Stop

aye

thats what looked fishy.

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FAIL

Stickers

"How are we gonna get round all the checks the US military have in place to ensure the chips are genuine and come from the right place, boss?"

"Well, we could print out some stickers that say the chips ARE genuine and DO come from the right place"

"Boss, I don't think the US military would ever fall for that....would they?"

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Anonymous Coward

Traceability?

Are suppliers to the US military not required to provide certification which allows traceability back to source materials or do they simply not bother to audit their suppliers? When I worked in the defence sector, it was not so much the military specifications that made components expensive as much as the certification and the associated administrative overhead.

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Anonymous Coward

the only difference

between consumer grade chips and military grade is the additional testing they go through. If they are the real thing, and just the certification is faked there shouldn't be too much of an issue... unless large numbers of military grade chips fail the additional testing.

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Boffin

Yes they're all the same chips!

If they pass the enhanced military testing they were declared to be military grade and so labelled e.g. 54LS00. Chips that failed this but still passed the "professional" grade testing ([1], they were labelled as professional grade e.g. 74LS00.

[1] The main differences are the working temperature range and the power supply voltage tolerance. Back in the days of the 54/74LS series, the 54's had to operate from -55 to +125C and allow the voltage to be up to 10% high or low. The corresponding 74's only needed to operate between 0 and 70C, and tolerate 5% high or low voltage.

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Paris Hilton

It has to be said (only because there has to be a title)

So no-one thought these chips were fishy?

PH for the blindly obvious.

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Coat

Well, people we have a tie

If both sides have been conned, then there is no advantage for either. Seems that the race for superiority is not a race to the capitalist bottom.

The coat is a hat's off to the obvious pick-pocket.

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Unhappy

Not only chips

It's not the only thing the Chinese have been up to:

Dodgy capacitors in motherboards are causing PCs, Laptops, power supplies, Hi-Fi units, LCD and Plasma TVs to fail across the world.

Adding toxic amounts of Lead into products that come in contact with the mouth. Pencils, dentures, plastic dolls.

They've added toxic chemicals in pet food products so that thousands of dogs, cats, etc. die or are seriously ill.

Not content with that they've added toxic chemicals into baby food products so that people die or are very sick in their thousands.

and yet we still buy their products?

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Silver badge
Go

The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

yeah but its cheap and I have a decent enough liver.

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Silver badge
Thumb Up

US Military using duff equipment?

Good. Give the woman a medal.

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Bronze badge
Go

re: US Military using duff equipment?

Hell, give the woman _several_ medals. She probably did more to interfere with US imperialism and warmongering than all the goddamn' impotent Liberal sign-waving in the streets in the past eight or ten years.

Now, _that's_ "direct action".

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Anonymous Coward

re: Give the woman a medal

It's the poor grunt on the ground who suffers as a result of low quality equipment, those who profit from the military-industrial complex will still be raking it in.

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WTF?

Small Biz BS

If the gov would just procure gear directly from OEMs, and not thru stupid 8A firms we could stop most of this nonsense. This bleeding heart, we've got to help these small, disadvantaged firms is complete crap. Perhaps in the days of procuring desks and chairs it made sense, it no longer does, however the GSA has too much momentum to be stopped.

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E 2

Doesn't matter

You go to war with the army you've got.

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bogus chips.....

wouldn't it be entirely within the abilities of a supplier with the clout of some Chinese (for example) or indeed other large suppliers of chips to backdoor the buggers ?

Why are such suppliers and their products not subject to agressive auditing in such critical applications ?

I'd have thought that retaining manufacturing facilities within the end user nation is essential for defence tech. It's absolutely not the kind of products any nation can afford to have backdoored up the wazoo.....

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