A Wokingham-based car accessory dealer has been sentenced to two years imprisonment following an investigation by West Berkshire and Wokingham Trading Standards.
Jianhui Dong, 31, formerly of Bellamy House in Ashville Way, Wokingham, was sentenced at Reading Crown Court on 17 June this year by Judge Stephen John after pleading guilty to breaching the Trade Marks Act 1994.
Following her guilty plea to one count of money laundering, his partner Siyan Liang, 32, of the same address, was sentenced to 21 months imprisonment suspended for two years, and 200 hours unpaid work. Liang was also ordered to pay £38,538 confiscation costs within three months or serve a further nine months in prison in default.
Trading standards officers were first alerted to the case in summer 2014 when they were contacted by BMW Group (UK) Ltd about a counterfeit black and white bonnet badge bought on eBay.
Further enquiries led to a warrant executed at the couple's address in autumn 2015, when more than 3,600 items were seized along with a number of computers and phones.
The fake items included bonnet, wheel and grill badges and tyre valve sets bearing the registered trade mark of major car manufacturers including BMW, Ford, Jaguar Land Rover, Mercedes, Honda, Peugeot and VW Group.
The seized computers and phones contained hundreds of images of counterfeit goods, which helped officers piece together a picture of the pattern of offending.
Other evidence also showed Dong had previously been contacted by eBay for trade mark violations concerning the BMW products. Investigations into the financial aspects of the case showed items valued at more than £100,000 had been sold in addition to the goods seized valued at £35,000. Furthermore, it was shown Laing had been involved in money laundering in relation to some £38,000 of this amount.
“This was another successful complex investigation carried out by the West Berkshire and Wokingham Shared Trading Standards Service,” said Cllr Pauline Jorgensen, executive member for resident services at Wokingham Borough Council.
“Ultimately it was an investigation that revealed a high level of criminality which was reflected in the sentences passed by the crown court. I hope that this sends a clear message to those selling or thinking of selling counterfeit goods that we will not stand by and watch the interests of consumers and legitimate businesses be damaged by this form of criminal behaviour.
“Finally I would like to thank Thames Valley Police whom we work with on many investigations for their assistance.”
If you wish to report the sale of counterfeit or smuggled goods, contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0345 040 05 06, or phone Crimestoppers in confidence on 0800 555111.