Fake perfumes, electrical items and clothing were among the goods which Patrick Morris sold from his home in Deal.
The 65-year-old pocketed over £120,000, selling the fake items – which he sourced from China – online from his website a-bit-of magic.co.uk. His 42-year-old godson, James Cumming, was also involved in the scam, describing himself as an ‘online shop manager’.
Cumming was jailed for a total of 16 months alongside Morris for six months when they appeared at Canterbury Crown Court yesterday (January 21), for their conspiracy to falsely use trademarks.
Morris had around 5,000 customers using his website which was set up in 2011. Throughout 2012, Kent County Council Trading Standards received numerous complaints that the business was selling fake products. The organisation began an investigation, and, after undercover test purchases which were confirmed to be fake, Trading Standards raided Morris’ home in Wellington Parade on November 8 2012. More than 500 goods were sezied during the sting, including two laptops and a mobile phone.
The estimated value of the seized goods belonging to Morris was between £11,000 and £12,000 based on his selling price obtained from business records.
Big name brands like Chanel, Dior, Dolce and Gabanna, Paco Rabanne all featured in the haul of fake goods taken during the raid. Electrical goods which included fake GHD hair straighteners and Beats headphones were also seized from the address.
It is estimated that the real brands lost out on around £360,000 worth of legitimate business.
Trading Standards manager Mark Rolfe said: “Kent County Council’s Trading Standards has put paid to these criminal entrepreneurs who were defrauding consumers and legitimate businesses.
“Those who deal in counterfeit goods can expect to be prosecuted and can face prison sentences as a result.
“All the goods seized were confirmed by the trademark holders as being counterfeit. Because the goods were fake, there were safety concerns over the electrical goods and fragrances which are required to comply with European safety legislation.
“There is the safety risk to consumers of using products which are not genuine and therefore the quality of them and their safety is not known.
“The scale of offending was such that the gross profit from the business amounted to over £120,000, with in excess of 5,000 consumers buying from the website.”
Category : Overview