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Counterfeit DVD seller ordered to pay back £567,000

A Penkridge man has been ordered to pay over £567,000 after selling counterfeit DVDs on eBay.

Paul Michael Foster, aged 53 formally of Walhouse Drive, Penkridge, Stafford had previously pleaded guilty to one offence of fraudulent trading and 9 offences infringing the Trade Marks Act (1994) in November 2015.

A successful investigation by FACT (Who provide intellectual property protection) and Staffordshire Trading Standards found Foster buying counterfeit DVDs from China and selling them to customers worldwide as genuine on eBay.  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.

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.