Five members of an extended Bradford family who ran an online counterfeit clothing operation have been ordered to pay back the proceeds of their crime at a hearing at Bradford Crown Court.
The case was brought by West Yorkshire Trading Standards following an investigation into an industrial-scale screen printing operation in which the registered trademarks of leading music artists, bands and sports teams were illegally printed onto clothing and distributed globally via eBay and Amazon. Using a number of eBay and Amazon user accounts in both their own and third party names including those of their family members, the extended family generated global counterfeit sales of £472,898.09 over a 5 year period. The proceeds were then used to purchase a number of properties and high value motor vehicles. The trademarks breached included Arctic Monkeys, The 1975, Motorhead, Ramones, Beyonce, 5 Seconds of Summer, Harry Potter, Ed Sheeran and Nirvana as well as a number of others.
Brothers Amar Choudry, Yasir Choudry, and Qaisar Choudry of Duchy Crescent, Bradford, their brother Faisal Choudry of Duchy Drive, Bradford and their brother-in-law Mudasar Alishan of Oakdale Drive, Shipley, were each sentenced in February 2019 at Bradford Crown Court for their offending, each receiving a 2 year custodial sentence suspended for 2 years with a requirement to undertake 300 hours unpaid work.
At yesterday’s hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 His Honour Judge Burn found the family had benefited by a total of £1,797,559.16 from their criminal enterprise. He ordered the family to pay confiscation orders totalling £1,513,163.49 which represented the total of their available assets. The full details of the confiscation orders made were as follows:
Linda Davis, Trading Standards Manager said: “Counterfeiting is not a victimless crime. It has a detrimental impact on the brand, consumers and the economy. Counterfeit traders undercut genuine retailers and the proceeds are often then used to fund organised crime. We will continue to robustly investigate and prosecute those who benefit from the theft of intellectual property. Those convicted of offences such as these can also expect to have their assets identified and confiscated.
Anyone with any information about counterfeiting should contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 04 05 06.”
Councillor Pauleen Grahame, Chair of the West Yorkshire Joint Services Governance and Audit Sub-Committee which oversees the work of Trading Standards said: “This is a great result for Trading Standards following a long and complex investigation. Counterfeiting harms our economy and our communities. Some of the money recovered from this criminal operation will go back into investigating these types of crime in the future and ensure that the residents of West Yorkshire are protected. I fully support the action taken by West Yorkshire Trading Standards in this case.”