A man from Gosforth, Newcastle has been sentenced to 16 months in prison after pleading guilty to nine offences relating to the possession and sale of counterfeit items and one offence of transferring criminal property, following an investigation by the National Trading Standards Scambuster North East Team and Newcastle Trading Standards.
Gianni Falchi, 39, sold hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of fake mobile phone accessories over internet sites such as Amazon and eBay via his company Ireplace Ltd.
The investigation into Falchi and his company by the National Trading Standards Scambuster North East Team found that Falchi sold counterfeit items via 133 eBay accounts, which were set up using false names and false contact details.
Over the period of four years in which Falchi was selling counterfeit items his company made a profit of at least £175,000 on counterfeit items with a turnover in excess of £800,000.
When a warrant was executed by the National Trading Standards Scambuster North East Team a total of 42,159 counterfeit items were seized with a street value of £212,473 and a value of genuine goods of around £1.15 million.
As a result of Mr Falchi’s conviction and sentencing a confiscation process under the Proceeds of Crime Act has been commenced.
Lord Toby Harris, Chair of National Trading Standards, said:
“This was a serious counterfeiting operation that took place over a number of years, making considerable profits and denying business to companies selling genuine items. Mr Falchi enriched himself with little regard to the potential safety risks of selling counterfeit products or the damage he was doing to legitimate businesses and traders.
“I want to thank both Newcastle Trading Standards and the National Trading Standards Scambuster North East Team for their work in securing this conviction. National Trading Standards is committed to protecting both consumers and legitimate businesses and will continue to pursue those who sell counterfeit goods.”
Howard Turton, Regional Enforcement Manager at the National Trading Standards Scambuster North East Team, said:
“Mr Falchi, through his company Ireplace Ltd, was responsible for the sale of tens of thousands of counterfeit items, largely mobile phone accessories. As a result of his actions legitimate businesses will have lost out – potentially putting jobs at risk and raising the costs of genuine goods.
“I am pleased that Mr Falchi has been brought to justice and I want to assure the public and legitimate businesses that the National Trading Standards Scambuster North East Team will continue to work to prevent the sale of counterfeit goods.”
Cllr Nick Kemp, Cabinet Member for Regulatory Services at Newcastle City Council, said:
“Counterfeit goods are the scourge of our society, destroying jobs, legitimate businesses and in some cases putting the health of the public at risk.
“This man made a small fortune selling fake goods over the internet, duping the consumer into thinking they had bought genuine mobile phones, chargers, covers and cables when they had not.
“He will have plenty of time to reflect behind bars on the offences he has committed. I hope it’s a lesson to others who may be ripping off the public, that if we find them we will not hesitate to prosecute them.”
Notes to Editors
For more information about this case contact the regional Scambusters office on 0191 211 6053.
For more general enquiries regarding the National Trading Standards Board please call 020 7025 7570 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes to editors
About the National Trading Standards Board
- The National Trading Standards Board is a group of senior and experienced local government heads of trading standards, representing all trading standards services across England and Wales. The Board has been set up by the Government as part of changes to the consumer protection landscape and an enhanced role for trading standards.
The National Trading Standards Board provides leadership influence, support and resources to help combat consumer and business detriment locally, regionally and nationally.
- The National Trading Standards Board funds the Scambuster Teams that target rogue trading, doorstep crime and scams, providing support across England and Wales through eight regionally based teams:
1.Central England Trading Standards Authorities (CEnTSA)
2.North East Trading Standards Authorities (NETSA)
3.Trading Standards East Midlands (TSEM)
4.Trading Standards North West (TSNW)
5.Tri Region Scambusters (TRS), on behalf of Trading Standards South East Ltd (TSSEL), East of England Trading Standards Association (EETSA) and London Trading Standards Association (LoTSA)
6.Trading Standards Partnership South West (SWERCOTS)
7.Yorkshire and Humber Trading Standards Group (YAHTSG) and
8.Wales Heads of Trading Standards (WHoTS)
There are separate arrangements in place in Scotland.