Designer counterfeiter ordered to pay £76,000
A Liverpool man caught with a stash of 38,000 counterfeit items has been ordered to pay more than £76,000 following a case brought by Warrington Borough Council.
Bernard O’Toole of Princess Drive, Liverpool, was ordered to pay a total of £76,720.55 after admitting criminal offences concerning counterfeit clothing and footwear.
O’Toole had been caught on the M62 motorway at Birchwood (1) with two large bags of counterfeit Ralph Lauren tracksuits, plus the badges and labels required for counterfeiting UGG boots and £4,745 in cash hidden in his van, all of which were seized.
Later that day at O’Toole’s home, officers discovered a significant manufacturing operation involving sewing machines, logo heat presses, packaging materials and all the materials necessary to produce more counterfeit clothing and footwear. Officers seized nearly 38,000 counterfeit items from O’Toole home.
In the case concluded last week (2) at Chester Crown Court, Recorder Menary QC handed down a confiscation order for £76,720.55 under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 which the court ruled was Mr O’Toole’s benefit from his counterfeiting crimes. The recorder said that failure to pay within six months would lead to a term of 12 months’ imprisonment.
O’Toole was also ordered to pay £9000 towards Warrington Borough Council’s legal costs.
Bernard O’Toole had previously been sentenced by Recorder Ford at Chester Crown Court (3) to 6 months’ imprisonment suspended for 2 years plus 80 hours’ community service following his guilty pleas to 13 offences contrary to the Trade Marks Act. Recorder Ford also ordered the forfeiture of all the seized counterfeit goods and the van used by O’Toole. The court also set a Proceeds of Crime Act confiscation timetable to allow for a full financial investigation into O’Toole’s affairs to be conducted by Warrington Borough Council’s financial investigators to allow the court to impose a confiscation order.
The council’s executive board member for public protection, Cllr David Keane, commented today:
“Warrington Public Protection Service continues to lead the way in local government circles in ensuring that those who break the law do not retain their ill-gotten gains. The council’s financial investigators have demonstrated with this case that through close working with the officers of the Public Protection Team both the cash seizure and confiscation regimes under the Proceeds of Crime Act can be used effectively by local authorities.”
Cllr Keane concluded: “This result sends out a clear warning to anyone considering entering into this style of criminality: do not become involved in the supply of counterfeit goods, because if you do, when you get caught, trading standards will ensure that all the profits you have made are seized.”
1. O’Toole was caught on the morning of Thursday 29th November 2012. He was initially stopped for using his mobile phone while driving.
2. The case was concluded on 5 March 2014.
3. On 4 October 2013.