Man who made £225,000 from fake goods told to pay back £1,000
A MUTLEY man who made nearly £225,000 selling fake Premiership football shirts on eBay has been ordered to pay back just over £1,000 by the courts.
Paul Potter, of Beechwood Avenue, pleaded guilty last year at Plymouth Crown Court after being nabbed by Plymouth City Council’s Trading Standards team.
A raid on his home in December 2009 found more than 2,000 counterfeit items of clothing.
At the time the council calculated the value of the goods, had they been genuine, would have been more than £50,000. Trading Standards officers also found warehouse-style metal shelving plus packaging materials, and it became evident a large-scale business had been going on for two years, the court heard.
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They were caught after a customer complained about a replica Chelsea FC shirt.
Potter’s Chinese wife, Xuena, had used her contacts in China and her translation skills to assist her husband’s venture. She was conditionally discharged for two years at an earlier court hearing.
Potter, who was unemployed and of previous good character, was sentenced in July last year to 10 months in jail, suspended for two years and ordered to do 100 hours community work.
At a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing yesterday, prosecutor Julia Cox noted how the then presiding judge, Judge Francis Gilbert, had agreed the order with the aim of stripping Potter of his ill-gotten assets.
However, she explained that while Potter’s criminal activity had benefited him by £224,657.01, his “realisable” assets now amounted to just £1,002.75.
He was given 45 days to pay.
Judge Paul Darlow also approved a forfeiture order to retain Potters computer and memory sticks seized during the initial raid.
Outside court, Richard Green, senior Trading Standards officer, said: “Mr Potter imported fake goods – primarily football shirts – from China, selling them on eBay.
“We had received a complaint from a member of the public who became suspicious after she noted how a label had “Made In Chiana” on it.
“Ironically, it is very likely the fake goods were actually made in China.
“From what we can ascertain the money Mr Potter made has been spent.
“He had a lifestyle well beyond his income, which could quite clearly be seen from the expensive electrical items in his property and the number of foreign holidays he enjoyed.”
Mr Green said that examination of Potter’s computer found that he was “selling an item an hour, every hour, of every day”.
He said: “It was one of the biggest seizures, if not the biggest seizure, of counterfeit clothing I’ve ever made from a residential property.”