News item

Counterfeiter ordered to pay back £18,900

Simon Seaton of Ashleigh Gardens, Leeds was today (21 October 2014) ordered to pay back £18,901.75, under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002; this was the benefit obtained from his criminal conduct.  

In March 2014 Simon Seaton was sentenced to eight months in prison at Leeds Crown Court for copyright and fraud offences after an investigation concluded by West Yorkshire Trading Standards. Seaton was involved in routinely advertising and supplying, via a secure website, pirated material including music and films.   A financial investigation was subsequently undertaken by Kirklees Council Financial Investigation team on behalf of West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service.

Various test purchases were made from Seaton which resulted in a Woodlesford address being raided by West Yorkshire trading standards service, police and PRS for Music. On the 27th of November 2012 a seizure of almost five thousand copied discs and copying paraphernalia was obtained. 

Seaton admitted acting dishonestly and running a fraudulent business that adversely impacted upon both copyright holders and legitimate music retailers, online and on the high street. 

Seaton pleaded guilty to twenty seven copyright offences. He also asked the court to take twelve further similar offences into consideration.   Seaton admitted copying MP3 discs on a daily basis, for supply nationwide.

Mr Seaton now has six months to pay back the money; he will face a further ten months in prison if he fails to pay the money within this period. 

David Lodge, Head of West Yorkshire Trading Standards said “This was a long and protracted investigation against a sophisticated counterfeiting operation.  Persons involved in counterfeiting are making large profits, usually not declaring that income to HMRC and this Service will carry out financial investigations and hit the criminals where it hurts – their pocket”

Chris Stabeler of PRS for Music said “We actively monitor the online availability of both physical and digital copies of music, and pursue those who seek to gain from the illegal use of our members music.  This activity deprives songwriters and other creators of music from their just reward, and the sentence reinforces how seriously the Courts view this type of crime.”

Councillor Bill Urry of the West Yorkshire Trading Standards Committee said “The supply of counterfeit goods is a serious matter & such activity will be investigated, legal action taken and financial investigations conducted to deprive criminal of their ill-gotten gains.”

Anyone wishing to report the sale of counterfeit or illegal goods should call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 040506.

DATE: 21 October 2014