Student in counterfeit games scam
A STUDENT who set up a “sophisticated” counterfeit computer games business on the web has been sentenced to six months in a youth offending institute.Simon Batih , from Kempson Drive, Great Cornard, gave up his studies to devote his time to the “slick” operation and made an estimated £28,000 in only six months, Ipswich Crown Court heard yesterday .
A STUDENT who set up a “sophisticated” counterfeit computer games business on the web has been sentenced to six months in a youth offending institute.
Simon Batih , from Kempson Drive, Great Cornard, gave up his studies to devote his time to the “slick” operation and made an estimated £28,000 in only six months, Ipswich Crown Court heard yesterday .
Then aged 19, he had copied X-box games, marketed and sold the discs on his website, in a bid to ease his student debt.
Some of the money he gained from the venture he gambled, while the rest he saved. The exact amount he profited from the business is not known but it is thought to be in the region of £10,000.
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Batih, now aged 20 and a promising accountancy student at Essex University, was given six-month concurrent sentences for six offences of infringing trademarks and one offence of infringing copyright.
Sentencing Batih, Judge John Devaux said the losers of his crime had been the trademark holders as well as legitimate retailers.
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The court heard that Batih was selling copied discs for between £4 and £6 on his website while their retail price was around £40.
Although the number of copies seized from him was relatively small, Hugh Rowland, prosecuting, said there were 1,200 blank DVDs found at his address “indicating perhaps the scale of the possible operation”.
A total of 12 items were seized from Batih's address, including £445.10 in cash, the blank DVDs, two computer towers, a switching unit, a CD copying unit, a monitor, a keyboard, and the balance of an internet account totalling £7,742.52.
Batih, who lives with his parents and siblings, was described as being close to his family and as a very promising first-year undergraduate student.
The court heard he had pleaded guilty to the offences at the earliest opportunity and co-operated with the local authority in the investigation.
He closed down the website and ceased trading immediately, while not attempting to remove any of the money he accrued in the internet account.
Reading out a statement made by Batih, Stephen Harvey, mitigating, said the young man felt “absolutely awful” and ashamed about what he had done and regretted his behaviour.
Judge Devaux said he was not permitted to give a suspended sentence for the offences, which were dated as November 2004 for selling and February last year for possessing.
He ordered the confiscation of the items seized except the balance of the internet account, which he directed should be used to pay the prosecution costs of £6,934.65, while the leftover amount would be confiscated.
Speaking after the case, Jill Korwin, assistant county trading standards officer said: “This was not a hobby; this was a professional operation earning more money in six months than a lot of people do in a year. A sentence of this type sends out a clear message to anyone else thinking of having a go - don't."