Beccles: Fraudster jailed for selling fake JLS, Justin Bieber and One Direction merchandise
PUBLISHED: 10:00 21 August 2014
A fraudster who made thousands of pounds selling fake JLS, Justin Bieber and One Direction clothes to unsuspecting victims through eBay has been jailed for 12 months.
John Young, of Sotterley Road, Hulver, near Beccles, was sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court following a 16 month investigation brought by Suffolk County Council Trading Standards.
Young, 53, admitted 13 breaches of trademark regulations between the end of 2009 and the start of 2013 and possessing a vinyl transfer machine for use in fraud.
He also admitted three offences of making articles for use in fraud and asked for an offence relating to the sale of number plates without the necessary identity checks being made to be taken into consideration.
Sentencing Young, Judge Rupert Overbury said: “The court has a duty to protect trademark holders and the sentence has to contain an element of deterrent to ensure the public are protected.”
He said the offences were premeditated as Young had admitted researching the sale of counterfeit goods on the internet.
Judge Overbury said although the prosecution claimed the trademark offences related to goods worth £120,000 Young only accepted they were worth £95,000 and although his gross sales from selling number plates were £75,000 his profit was only £7,000-£10,000.
He said Young purchased relatively cheap items of clothing and used a heat transfer machine to apply trademarks. “These weren’t pirate copies because you weren’t trying to make exact copies of the orignal items - you were selling cheap items with a trademark on them,” said the judge.
“Your sales on eBay were substantial and over a number of years you were making a substantial living out of these trademark offences,” he added.
Steven Dyble, for Young, said that prior to the offences his client had run a sign business which had been hit by the recession.
His family had then been hit by a number of health problems and he had tried to help out his son after he was made redundant.
“He wasn’t going out spending money on high living, holidays and fast cars,” said Mr Dyble.
He said Young had no previous convictions and was unlikely to reoffend again.
Speaking after the sentencing, Nousha Meek, the senior trading standards officer who investigated the case, said: “Suffolk Trading Standards is committed to keeping counterfeit goods off the streets, and this case should act as a stark warning to other rogue businesses and individuals selling through eBay or other online methods such as Facebook.
“Counterfeit goods undermine legitimate businesses and their sale will not be tolerated in Suffolk.
“Our advice to consumers is to use the Brand-i shopping directory to find items such as designer or branded clothing, perfumes, shoes, music and sunglasses. You can trust the online stores listed as they have been provided with the consent of the brands themselves.
“Anyone who suspects they have been sold counterfeit goods can report it to Trading Standards on 03454 040506.”
A Proceeds of Crime Act hearing will take place later in the year.