A trader from Farmborough near Bath has been sentenced following an investigation by Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Trading Standards team into the sale of counterfeit products.
On 19th July, James Gunter, 33, of Timsbury Road, Farmborough, was sentenced for 13 offences under the Trade Marks Act 1994 and on 5th September 2016, a confiscation order was made under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, following an investigation by Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Trading Standards team.
Gunter pleaded guilty at Bristol Crown Court to 13 offences under the Trade Mark Act 1994 at an earlier hearing (8th January 2016) and asked for 21 other offences to be taken into account.
Following an investigation by Bath and North East Somerset Trading Standards team, Mr Gunter, trading as Car Style Direct, admitted selling counterfeit car accessories and merchandise on eBay and via his personal website.
A warrant was executed by the Trading Standards team and over 8,000 counterfeit items were seized bearing counterfeit markings for Ford, Porsche, Volkswagen, Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Land Rover and Overfinch products.
Mr Gunter was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment suspended for two years, 240 hours of unpaid work, an electronic tag and curfew from 8pm to 8am for 9 months and a two year supervision order at Bristol Crown Court on 19th July.
Following a Proceeds of Crime hearing at Bristol Crown Court on 5th September 2016, the criminal benefit to Mr Gunter was found to be in the sum of £210,751.
A confiscation order was made by His Honour Judge Lambert of £1,587, based on this being the amount available to Mr Gunter at the time.
Mr Gunter was given 30 days to pay and will have to serve 28 days imprisonment should he failed to do so.
If Mr Gunter does come into money in the future he may have to account for what he owes to the state.
Councillor Martin Veal (Conservative, Bathavon North), Cabinet Member for Community Services, said: “The Council is committed to ensuring that traders operating in Bath and North East Somerset are doing so honestly and legally.
“Studies have shown that online piracy like this is on the increase and the Government has estimated it loses £1.3 billion in unpaid tax from the sale of counterfeit goods.
“This is a very serious crime that affects us all and we will always look to prosecute any breaches of trading standard laws.
“I would like to thank our officers for their hard work in this investigation, which has helped to protect online shoppers both in our area and elsewhere and I hope this case serves as a deterrent to others.”
Judge Julian Lambert prohibited Mr Gunter from trading on the internet for two years and said: “The protection of Trade Marks is vital to a healthy economy and that is why the law intervenes.”
He also made a forfeiture order for the items seized.