News item

POCA used to hit two more counterfeiters where it hurts

Two more counterfeiters have been stripped of all assets after financial investigations carried out by Brent and Harrow Trading Standards Service concerning the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

Case 1

On 2nd March 2012 at Harrow Crown Court, Brent & Harrow Trading Standards Service secured a confiscation order for £45,087.59 against Amit Kumar after he was caught dealing in counterfeit goods. HHJ Morris made the order under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and gave Mr Kumar 6 months to pay up.

Amit Kumar of Avebury, Slough had previously pleaded guilty to 3 offences under the Trade Marks Act 1994 for selling and possessing counterfeit items for sale at Willesden Market in North West London, Kempton Market in Surrey and a storage unit in Slough.

Confiscation proceedings were instituted following the successful conviction of Mr Kumar after a joint prosecution taken by Brent & Harrow Trading Standards Service and Surrey County Council’s Trading Standards Service, which resulted in the defendant  being sentenced to 180 hours of unpaid work.

Mr Kumar will now have to pay the confiscation order in full within the next 6 months or he will face serving a default prison sentence of 18 months. Should he serve a term in prison in default for non-payment of the order, he would still owe the full amount and any outstanding balance after the 6 month deadline would start attracting interest. 
 
Case 2

On Friday 24th February 2012 at Harrow Crown Court, Brent & Harrow Trading Standards Service secured a confiscation order for £16,521.44 against Manish Patel after he was caught dealing in counterfeit goods. HHJ Greenwood made the order under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and gave Mr Patel 3 months to pay up.
Manish Patel (aged 32), of Kingsbury, had previously pleaded guilty to eight offences under the Trade Marks Act 1994 for selling and possessing counterfeit items for sale. Among the items seized were watches and accessories bearing brands names such as Rolex, Breitling, Panerai and Omega.

Confiscation proceedings were instituted following the successful conviction of Mr Patel by Brent & Harrow Trading Standards Service, which resulted in him being sentenced to 200 hours of unpaid work and an eight month prison sentence which was suspended for two years.

Mr Patel will now have to pay the confiscation order in full within the next 3 months or he will face serving a default prison sentence of 9 months. Should he serve a term in prison in default for non-payment of the order, he would still owe the full amount and any outstanding balance after the 3 month deadline would start attracting interest.
Mr Patel will now have to sell his assets in order to pay the order, including his Range Rover Sports motor car.

Brent & Harrow Trading Standards Service uses the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, which came into force to strip criminals of their ill-gotten gains, and in both cases they restrained assets in order to prevent them from being dissipated prior to the confiscation hearings.

Since using the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 Brent & Harrow Trading Standards Service have secured 17 confiscation orders against convicted offenders including those caught selling clocked cars and counterfeit goods.

The benefit total in these 17 cases amounts to £7,196,403.68 with subsequent confiscation orders totalling £1,464,720.79


Speaking on the issue, Bill Bilon, the Head of Consumer & Business Protection for Brent Council said: “I hope that these cases send out a clear message that trading in counterfeit goods really doesn’t pay. Those engaged in the sale of counterfeit goods will not just get a criminal record, but they will also face being stripped of their assets. We will continue to use the Proceeds of Crime Act to deprive those who choose to act in a criminal manner.”


Note for Editors
1. The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 came into force on 24th March 2003 and allows for the removal of assets that have been acquired as a result of crime
2. Counterfeiting is listed within Schedule 2 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 as a ‘criminal lifestyle’ offence. If a person is convicted of committing a Trade Marks Act offence, then they are deemed to have a criminal lifestyle, which means that investigators can go back over a six year period to calculate a benefit figure and the court can be invited to make certain assumptions about a defendant’s income, expenditure and assets. It is for the defendant to rebut these assumptions
3. It is the Crown Court that makes the confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. During the hearing the court will assess the benefit that has been made by the Defendant and this will be declared by the Judge. Following this the court will then make a confiscation order for the available amount, i.e. the assets that the Defendant has in his possession at the time of the court hearing (unless of course the court finds that the Defendant has hidden assets)
4. For further information on this press release please contact Simon Martin on 020 8937 5533