Fake DVD seller hit with £0.6m fine

Paul Michael Foster, formerly of Penkridge, Stafford in the West Midlands of England, had previously pleaded guilty to one offence of fraudulent trading and nine offences of infringing the Trade Marks Act (1994) in November 2015.

A successful joint investigation by UK intellectual property protection organisation FACT (Federation Against Copyright Theft) and Staffordshire Trading Standards discovered Foster was buying counterfeit DVDs from China and selling as genuine products on eBay to customers across the world. He was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment in January 2016.

At the confiscation hearing on February 12th 2018 at Stafford Crown Court, Foster was ordered to pay back £567,000 (€639,000) in proceeds of crime money and prosecution costs of £36,858.72.

“This result reinforces the severity of counterfeiting and IP crime,” declared Kieron Sharp, CEO of FACT. “Not only has Paul Foster’s criminal actions landed him 16 months in prison but he now has been ordered to pay back more than half a million pounds from his ill-gotten gains.”

“Illegal enterprises like Foster’s fake DVD business not only starve the creative industries and UK economy, but it also impacts and threatens he livelihoods of the hundreds of thousands of people who support and work in the industry.”

“We would like to thank Staffordshire Trading Standards for their efforts in this investigation and will continue to work with them to protect consumers and legitimate businesses from falling victim to intellectual property crime.”

“This confiscation order against Mr Foster is by far the largest order ever secured by Staffordshire Trading Standards and is entirely fitting for the shocking offending by this individual,” stated Gill Heath, cabinet member for Communities at Staffordshire County Council.

“Counterfeiting costs legitimate businesses dearly and damages the economy and the court has clearly taken these offences very seriously. This is a great result for our Trading Standards team and reflects the hard work of the officers involved in carrying out both the criminal and financial investigation.”

“This investigation is also an excellent example of partnership working in the fight against crime, which has subsequently led to the recovery of significant assets obtained through criminality. We will always consider, where appropriate, applying for the confiscation of assets from criminals involved in such activity.”

Forfeiture of the seized DVDs was previously granted to Trading Standards for disposal.

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