The two residents, aged 50 and 29, are both from the Penrhiwceiber area fined for Selling Counterfeit Goods
Two Rhondda Cynon Taf residents have been successfully prosecuted by the Council’s Trading Standards Department for operating a fraudulent business and selling or having in their possession counterfeit goods.
The two residents, aged 50 and 29, are both from the Penrhiwceiber area and both pleaded guilty at Merthyr Magistrates Court to nine charges each, one for operating a fraudulent business contrary to the Fraud Act 2006, and eight offences contrary to the Trade Marks Act 1994 for selling and having in possession for sale goods bearing unauthorised Trade Marks, known as counterfeit goods.
The successful charges were brought against the two local residents by the Council’s Trading Standards Department following an investigation, as a result of a complaint received against the individuals in relation to the sale of counterfeit goods using the online platform Facebook.
Paul Mee, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Group Director, Community & Children’s Services, speaking after the court case, said: “The law is there to protect both the public and those bone-fide international companies who have a global reputation for selling quality goods at reputable outlets.
“Our Trading Standards officers, working on information received from the public, carried out a thorough investigation which has resulted in this successful prosecution.
“This was a serious breach of the Fraud Act 2006 and the Trade Marks Act 1994 and both individuals are now paying the price for their illegal actions. The sales of these counterfeit goods were not only detrimental to consumers, but also to the honest traders.
“Consumers also have a right to know that items they are purchasing fit the description being offered.”
Enquiries were made and it was found that the Facebook Group in question had been running for two months. On December 2, 2019, a warrant of entry was executed at the address identified for the defendants during which items seized included footwear, clothing, handbags, perfume, aftershave, a doll and make-up sets, all of which bore registered trademarks, £843.96 cash, computer equipment and mobile phones.
In total, 72 items believed to be counterfeit were seized. The brands involved included Fred Perry, Chanel, Hugo Boss, Calvin Klein, Lacoste, GHD, Cloud 9, Jimmy Choo, Marc Jacobs, Beats, North Face, Levi, Dior, North Face, Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren.
In mitigation, it was stated in court that the goods sold could not have been anything other than counterfeit goods given the price on them.
Both individuals were fined £200 for operating a fraudulent business. They were also fined £200 for four of the Trade Mark offences, with no separate penalty awarded for the remaining five offences. Both were also both ordered to pay a £100 Victim Surcharge and £75 court costs, bringing the total to £1,175 each.
The court heard that the cash seized belonged to the son of one of the defendants, and this was returned to the defendant. An order was also issued for the forfeiture and destructions of all other goods seized, including the laptop and iPad.
The counterfeit goods concerned were produced and supplied without the authority of The Trade Mark owners and involve premium distinguished brands, these goods by their nature would not have undergone the rigorous safety and quality checks for which the brands are known.