A woman from Harlow was convicted at Barking Magistrates Court on 20th June 2019. (Her details have been withheld at the request of her solicitors). She pleaded guilty to three (3) offences of selling counterfeit goods contrary to Section 92 of The Trademarks Act 1994. The woman was sentenced to a Conditional Discharge for 18 months, ordered to pay a £100 contribution to investigation costs and a Victim Surcharge of £20.00.
The case was brought by TM Eye as a private criminal prosecution on behalf of its clients Jimmy Choo, Pandora and another well known luxury goods brand.
The convicted woman operated on a facebook Group selling page ‘Things for Sale in and around Romford areas’. She used the false details ‘Lou-Elle James’ and advertised an array of counterfeit goods which included handbags, belts, scarves and small accessories including wallets, purses and jewellery branded with the names Michael Kors, Versace, Chanel, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Armani, Boss, Jimmy Choo and many others. She also sent WhatsApp broadcast lists to over 100 people every week offering a wide variety of fake goods. She also offered a Personal Shopping Service whereby a customer was able to send her a picture of an item they would like for her to source a fake copy. No enforcement action was taken in relation to the other brands on sale at the request of their representatives.
TM Eye’s Online Investigations Team commenced an investigation on 1st November 2018. Following contact with the woman via Facebook, TM Eye deployed undercover detectives from the TM Eye Dedicated Undercover Unit and TM Eye’s Surveillance Team to carry out a series of covertly filmed test purchases. Test purchases were made at various locations including Dagenham market, McDonalds in Harlow and in Brentwood on 2nd November 2018 of a Louis Vuitton purse for £30.00 that if genuine would cost £885.00, on 4th February 2019 of a Louis Vuitton bag for £45.00 that if genuine would cost £1,270.00, on 24th February 2019 of a fake Jimmy Choo bag for £20.00 and 26th May 2019 of a fake Pandora bracelet with charms for £23.90 valued at over £400.00 if genuine.
During the investigation it was identified that the defendant using the pseudonym ‘Lou-Elle James’ had been a member of the ‘Things for sale in and around Romford areas’ group since 27 July 2018 and that she was a member of a number of other selling groups including “Things for sale in Barking and Dagenham and local areas” and “Loughton Bargains”. She was also a prolific seller on Whatsapp.
TM Eye Director David Mckelvey said, “This Online Seller was prolific and offered a vast amount of fake goods for sale over a significant period using a wide variety of social media. She ran a sophisticated criminal enterprise to avoid detection using a false name and public locations for sales. The TM Eye Online Investigations Team supported by the Dedicated Undercover Unit have done an excellent job in identifying this criminal and bringing her to justice.
Should she re offend she will undoubtedly receive a custodial sentence.”
On 24th June 2019 two Bulgarian nationals Syuleman Ahmedom SYULEMANOV( born 17/10/1984) and Sherife Kyamil MUSTAFA (born 19/12/1985) living in Basildon, Essex appeared at Basildon Magistrates Court charged with eight (8) offences of selling counterfeit goods and possessing them for sale contrary to Section 92 of The Trademarks Act 1994. Both pleaded guilty to all matters. SYULEMANOV admitted that she had given the court a false name of Fatima AHMET. This was corrected and she was sentenced with MUSTAFA in her correct details. Both received a 12 Month Community Order with a condition to complete 120 hours of Unpaid Work, a requirement to pay £100 investigation costs and an £85 Victims Surcharge.
The case was brought by TM Eye on behalf of its client HUGO BOSS as a private criminal prosecution.
Both those convicted operated a large stall at Wellesbourne Market every Saturday selling fake clothing from a wide variety of luxury brands including North Face, Armani, Nike, Armani, Kenzo, D&G, Moncler, Givenchy and others. No enforcement action was taken in relation to these brands at the request of their Brand Protection officers and representatives. SYULEMANOV and MUSTAFA made significant criminal proceeds from their criminal activities.
Undercover detectives from TM Eye’s Dedicated Undercover Unit supported by the TM Eye surveillance team attended Wellesbourne Market on 24th November 2018, 1st December 2018, 8th December 2018, 15th December 2018 and 16th February 2019. On each occasion covertly filmed test purchases were made of fake Hugo Boss goods. These formed the evidence leading to the prosecution and conviction of the two.
TM Eye Director David Mckelvey said,“These two defendants were prolific and sold large amounts of fake clothing at Wellesbourne Market. They are now convicted and as a result of our Information Sharing Agreement with the Association of Chief Police Officers Criminal Records Office, will have their convictions recorded on the Police National Computer. They will also be required to have their fingerprints, photographs and DNA taken for police indices. TM Eye will also inform the UK Border Agency. Should they re offend they risk imprisonment”.
Jacqueline DAVIES of Heol Pillapall, Barry, The Vale of Glamorgan, Wales appeared at Cardiff Magistrates Court on 11 June 2019, charged with four (4) offences of selling counterfeit Pandora goods and Possessing them for sale. She had previously pleaded guilty to all matters. She was sentenced to 8 weeks Imprisonment suspended for 12 Months, required to undertake 100 hours Unpaid Work, pay Prosecution Costs of £1,881.65 and a £115 Victims Surcharge.
The case was brought by TM Eye as a private criminal prosecution on behalf of Pandora Jewellery.
The case follows an 11 month criminal investigation by TM Eye’s Online Investigations Team into the sale of fake Pandora jewellery on Ebay. Jacqueline DAVIES operated a site on Ebay providing the sellers details as J D RETAIL at Unit 2B Station Road, Cardiff. She advertised large numbers of Pandora charms and jewellery as genuine at less than half the retail price. Experts within TM Eye identified them as counterfeit.
Test purchases were made from the site on 25th July 2018, 5th February 2019 and 21st February 2019. Payment was made through Jacqueline Davies PAYPAL account JD RETAIL (Bettieblue14). Examination of the EBAY and PAYPAL accounts by TM Eye Financial Investigators showed that she had been trading for several years and had annually made over £50,000 in criminal proceeds from the sale of fake Pandora goods. The District Judge sentenced Davies on the basis that she had made at least £45,000 criminal proceeds a year for 3 years (£135,000). Davies had claimed that she had to pay EBay sellers costs. Examination of her bank accounts showed that she had spent all the proceeds on holidays and luxuries.
TM Eye Director David Mckelvey said,“Jacqueline DAVIES ran a highly profitable criminal enterprise selling fake Pandora jewellery. Our Financial team evidenced that she was making £50,000 a year clear profit. She paid no tax. She spent these criminal proceeds on a luxury lifestyle with regular expensive holidays, meals and goods. We were able to show the criminal proceeds in this case as a result of the District Judge’s involvement requiring her to disclose bank statements. Criminals such as Davies regularly make similar criminal profits but rarely are we able to evidence this.
The damage to the brand Pandora cannot be over stated. She was selling these goods as genuine to decent law abiding customers who believed they were getting cheap real products. As a result the public were misled and in turn Pandora lost sales.
Many of these fake jewellery products contain high levels of Nickel and Lead. Both are highly dangerous and poisonous when worn against the skin. One is a carcenegenic.
TM Eye’s covert investigation has removed a prolific criminal and reduced the damage done to the Pandora brand and the serious risk of harm to the public.
Davies will now be required to have her fingerprints, photograph and DNA taken and has her conviction recorded on the Police National Computer. If she re offends the will go to prison.”