A man who sold fake DVDs on eBay has been ordered to pay over £567,000.
Paul Michael Foster, 53 and formerly of Walhouse Drive, Penkridge, Stafford had previously pleaded guilty to one offence of fraudulent trading and nine offences of infringing the Trade Marks Act (1994) in November 2015.
A successful joint investigation by FACT and Staffordshire Trading Standards discovered Foster was buying counterfeit DVDs from China and selling them as genuine products on eBay to customers across the world. He was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment in January 2016.
At the confiscation hearing on 12 February 2018 at Stafford Crown Court, Foster was ordered to pay back £567,000 in proceeds of crime money and prosecution costs of £36,858.72.
Kieron Sharp, CEO of FACT said, “This result reinforces the severity of counterfeiting and IP crime. Not only has Paul Foster’s criminal actions landed him 16 months in prison but he now has been ordered to pay back more than half a million pounds from his ill-gotten gains.
“Illegal enterprises like Foster’s fake DVD business not only starve the creative industries and UK economy, but it also impacts and threatens the livelihoods of the hundreds of thousands of people who support and work in the industry.
“We would like to thank Staffordshire Trading Standards for their efforts in this investigation and will continue to work with them to protect consumers and legitimate businesses from falling victim to intellectual property crime.”
Gill Heath, cabinet member for Communities at Staffordshire County Council said: “This confiscation order against Mr Foster is by far the largest order ever secured by Staffordshire Trading Standards and is entirely fitting for the shocking offending by this individual.
“Counterfeiting costs legitimate businesses dearly and damages the economy and the court has clearly taken these offences very seriously. This is a great result for our Trading Standards team and reflects the hard work of the officers involved in carrying out both the criminal and financial investigation.
“This investigation is also an excellent example of partnership working in the fight against crime, which has subsequently led to the recovery of significant assets obtained through criminality. We will always consider, where appropriate, applying for the confiscation of assets from criminals involved in such activity.”
Forfeiture of the seized DVDs was previously granted to Trading Standards for disposal.