Facebook Counterfeiter Given Suspended Sentence And Fined
A Facebook trader from Cwmbran has pleaded guilty to 24 separate trade mark charges relating to the sale and possession for sale of over 140 counterfeit items including clothing, footwear, jewellery, watches, cosmetics, headphones and speakers displaying the brands of Adidas, Nike, Apple, Timberland, Ralph Lauren, Cath Kidson, GHD, Pandora, Michael Kors etc following a Trading Standards investigation in Torfaen.
Michelle Dowling of Rhymney Court, Thornhill, Cwmbran was taken to court after Trading Standards found her selling items which were believed to be counterfeit. More than 10 ‘fake names’ were used by Dowling in an attempt to avoid detection and she then sold these items on a variety of Facebook selling sites. These items were hidden at a local storage company in a further attempt to avoid detection.
Dowling appeared at Newport Magistrates Court on Friday 9 March 2017 and pleaded guilty to 24 charges in relation to the fraudulent use of trademarks. She was given credit for her early guilty pleas but due to the number of offences and huge amount of goods she received a suspended sentence.
The court listened to the facts and the mitigation and sentenced as follows:
- 12 weeks imprisonment suspended for 18 months
- Unpaid work of 80 hours
- Prohibition requirement not to engage in online selling for 18 months
- Forfeiture of all items seized
- £1519 costs
- £115 victim surcharge
Cllr Gwyneira Clark, executive member for planning and public protection in Torfaen said:
“This is yet another case that shows that our Trading Standards team continue to successfully investigate the problem of counterfeit items. People who sell and supply such items don’t just risk getting a heavy fine or imprisonment but under POCA (the Proceeds of Crime Act) – their financial affairs can also be investigated where courts can confiscate any monies or assets obtained through such criminal activities.
“Genuine businesses are undermined by criminal sellers of counterfeit goods which can be poor quality and unsafe. I would therefore encourage residents only to buy from reputable or accredited sellers wherever possible.”
Combating the supply of all counterfeit products, whether it is clothing, tobacco or electrical equipment continues to be one of the priorities of the Trading Standards Service in Torfaen and Blaenau Gwent.
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