Family ordered to pay thousands for counterfeit DVD sales
A Suffolk family is counting the cost of manufacturing and importing counterfeit DVDs
Two family members who had previously admitted to making at least £75,000 from their illicit cottage industry, have now been ordered to pay a total of £159,535 following action taken by Suffolk Trading Standards at Ipswich Crown Court.
The court also ordered that the defendants forfeit their rights to all the seized computer equipment and discs along with associated packaging material used in the distribution of the counterfeit DVDs.
In June 2011, sisters Susan Steel, 54, and Julie-Anne Steel, 41, received prison sentences totalling 22 months after pleading guilty to conspiring to defraud and money laundering. Susan’s son and daughter-in-law received suspended prison sentences after admitting manufacturing counterfeit DVDs and selling them on to unsuspecting consumers - primarily through eBay.
In raids carried out by Suffolk Trading Standards and Suffolk Police in 2008, over 2250 DVDs were seized along with computer equipment and large quantities of paperwork.
The court heard how the family had used multiple eBay usernames, PayPal and bank accounts to run their illegal enterprise. In total, 27 bank accounts, 34 PayPal accounts and in excess of 50 eBay usernames were eventually linked to the four family members.
Councillor Colin Spence, Suffolk County Council’s Portfolio Holder for Public Protection said it was a great result for the Trading Standards team, who have worked tirelessly on this case. He said;
“There is absolutely no doubt that this level of counterfeiting would have had a considerable impact on the trademark holders and legitimate retailers. I hope that this order will send a clear message to anyone thinking of producing and selling counterfeit goods that crime certainly does not pay.”