A man selling fake perfumes, pocketing over £120,000, has been jailed for 16 months.
Patrick Morris, 65, operated his online knock-down-priced business a-bit-of magic.co.uk from his home in Deal.
Alongside him in the counterfeit con was godson James Cumming, 42, who described himself as an online shop manager.
Cumming was jailed alongside Morris for six months when they appeared at Canterbury Crown Court on Wednesday, 21 January, for their conspiracy to falsely use trademarks.
Morris sourced the goods – men’s and women’s fragrances, hair straighteners, audio goods, ‘Ugg’ boots and children’s backpacks – from China.
Morris had around 5,000 customers using his website which was set up in 2011.
During 2012, Kent County Council Trading Standards received numerous complaints that the business was selling fake products.
Following undercover test purchases by Kent Trading Standards, which were then sent off for tests and confirmed to be fake, Kent Trading Standards visited Morris’ home in Wellington Parade on 8 November 2012 where more than 500 goods were seized, including two laptops and an iPhone.
The estimated value of the seized goods belonging to Morris was in the region of £11,533 – £12,566 based on his selling price obtained from business records.
The goods seized included well-known brands such as Chanel, Dior, Dolce and Gabanna, Paco Rabanne.
GHD hair straighteners and audio goods purporting to be Bose, Beats and Pioneer were also bagged.
It is estimated that the real brands lost out on around £360,000 worth of legitimate business.
Trading Standards manager Mark Rolfe said: “Kent County Council’s Trading Standards has put paid to these criminal entrepreneurs who were defrauding consumers and legitimate businesses.
“Those who deal in counterfeit goods can expect to be prosecuted and can face prison sentences as a result.
“All the goods seized were confirmed by the trademark holders as being counterfeit. Because the goods were fake, there were safety concerns over the electrical goods and fragrances which are required to comply with European safety legislation.
“There is the safety risk to consumers of using products which are not genuine and therefore the quality of them and their safety is not known.
“The scale of offending was such that the gross profit from the business amounted to over £120,000, with in excess of 5,000 consumers buying from the website.”