Counterfeiter pays twice

A South Gloucestershire man has been made to pay back nearly £6,000, which he was assessed to have made from sales of counterfeit films, games and music as well as pornographic films. He was also ordered to pay £4,833 in prosecution costs. This is in addition to previously being given a 6 month suspended sentence and ordered to do 150 hours of community service.

Dominic Brooks, 33, of Blaisdon, Yate, appeared before Bristol Crown Court on 18th December in connection with proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, which were brought following his conviction for 29 offences under the Trade Marks Act and the Video Recordings Act.

The original case was taken by South Gloucestershire Trading Standards who targeted Brooks following information implicating him in the sales of counterfeited material to his work colleagues at the Sainsbury’s distribution centre in Emerson’s Green. A warrant was executed at his home address in December 2006, when he was arrested and a large amount of evidence relating to counterfeiting was detained. FACT investigators assisted with the identification of counterfeit product.

Subsequent investigations by Trading Standards revealed that Brooks was in possession of monthly lists, in which he priced and detailed all the films, music and games that he was selling. It was further established that these lists were regularly circulated to many of his 92 work colleagues on a monthly basis, when he would update them of the new titles that he was able to offer. In addition, forensic examination of his computer revealed that he was receiving email orders for the products he listed.

When Brooks’ case was originally dealt with in Court it was established that the copied films, games and music he had in his possession amounted to a legitimate market value in excess of £80,000.

Mr Brooks was sentenced for these crimes at Bristol Crown Court in July 2008, when a forfeiture order was also made for thousands of pounds worth of computer equipment and associated materials that were in his possession for counterfeiting purposes. The Proceeds of Crime Act proceedings were taken with the assistance of the UK Intellectual Property Office (formerly the Patent Office) with the aim of recovering assets Brooks had gained from his criminal activity.

After the hearing Neil Derrick, Senior Enforcement Officer with South Gloucestershire Trading Standards, said: “Mr Brooks was proven to be a workplace counterfeiter and effectively he has been punished twice for this, as he has a criminal conviction and sentence as well as being £10,500 worse off after the court proceedings. If he fails to pay the confiscation order within 6 months he will be sentenced to a further 4 months imprisonment and still have to pay the figure.”

He added: “ People should not underestimate the damage that counterfeiters like Mr Brooks do to local economies and it is especially important that we protect legitimate businesses in this tough economic climate”

Anyone wishing to report counterfeiting activity can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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