SUPPLIER OF FAKE BRANDED MOBILE PHONE COVERS ORDERED TO PAY £330,000
A trader who supplied a Chester shop with fake branded mobile phone accessories has been ordered to pay more than £330,000.
Friduddin Rana was found guilty in July 2015 of nine offences relating to fraudulent trading, money laundering, and selling and offering for sale counterfeit goods.
Cheshire West and Chester Trading Standards had brought the case against him after establishing that his company Skyline Accessories was acting as a wholesale supplier to The Phone Doctor in The Forum Shopping Centre in 2012.
It triggered a complex investigation which revealed that Rana was importing counterfeit items from China, including Apple, Samsung and BlackBerry phone covers, and selling them from his Manchester shop and online.
At a Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) hearing at Chester Crown Court on Monday (September 26), Rana was ordered to pay £275,000 after the court determined he had benefited by this sum from his criminal activity.
If the amount is not paid within three months he faces a prison sentence of three years. He must also pay £56,239 in costs to the Council, making a total of £331,239.
Rana, of Bury New Road, Prestwich was arrested in July 2013 in a joint operation involving the Council's Trading Standards, North West Trading Standards Scambusters Team and Greater Manchester Police.
Officers who raided his Moulton Street shop seized more than 10,000 counterfeit branded mobile phone parts and accessories. Cash totalling £124,387 was seized from the safe.
During interviews Rana, 44, replied "no comment" to all questions. He was convicted of all counts against him following a week-long trial at Chester Crown Court.
In September 2015 he was sentenced to 21 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, and 200 hours community service.
Counterfeiting is not a victim less crime.
Not only does it take away custom from legitimate, hardworking businesses, but customers who think they are snapping up a bargain can be put at risk by products which do not meet safety standards.
This case sends out the strong message that Cheshire West and Chester Trading Standards will not tolerate the sale of counterfeit goods and will use its powers under the Proceeds of Crime Act to strip offenders of their assets when they are caught and convicted.
Cheshire West and Chester Council plans to set aside £10,000 from the money it is to receive following the POCA hearing for local community projects.