Belfast Telegraph

Fraudster who made £100,000 after selling fake T-shirts is fined £70k

By John Mulgrew

A Co Antrim man who made and sold fake T-shirts online, has been fined almost £70,000 and handed down 80 hours of community service.

Paul Gerard McDonald (53), of Serpentine Road, Newtownabbey, pleaded guilty to eight charges under the Trade Marks Act 1994 in Belfast Magistrates' Court on August 25, 2015.

McDonald sold more than 20,000 items, worth £100,000, on eBay, under the name 'Sofakingcool'.

The case against McDonald was brought by Trading Standards.

That followed a complaint on behalf of the trade mark holders.

McDonald was making dodgy T-shirts and other merchandise, bearing logos from the blockbuster film and comic series Batman.

He was also forging items with insignia belonging to music mega stars Queen, Olly Murs and Avenged Sevenfold, in his shed at his home on the Serpentine Road.

Investigations revealed that McDonald had a "substantial presence on a popular online auction/buying site".

In November 2013, officers visited McDonald's home, where they found a garden shed set up as a small factory with printing equipment, T-shirts and computers.

"In the two-year period prior to Trading Standards action against him, investigations show he had in excess of 20,000 sales on the website, with a total value of more than £100,000," the Department for the Economy said.

Nicholas Lane, inspector for Trading Standards Service, said: "Counterfeiting harms legitimate business and threatens jobs.

"The Trading Standards Service will continue to uncover sellers of counterfeit goods on auction sites and social media sites and we will not hesitate to take enforcement action against any trader found to be selling fakes.

"Magistrates' Courts can impose penalties of up to £5,000 and/or six months in prison per offence if trademarks or copyrights are infringed. Individuals can also be subject to investigations under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002."

McDonald was ordered to pay £68,357 under the Proceeds Of Crime Act 2002, following a hearing at Belfast Crown Court.

And he was also sentenced to 80 hours community service over the same issue by the Crown Court in May 2016.

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