A Birmingham businessman was today (May 10) ordered to pay £100,000 at Birmingham Crown Court, after being found in possession of a large quantity of counterfeit goods.
Phonetec UK Limited and company director Mohammed Akhtar Musejee – trading as Akee’s at 114 Warren Farm Road, Kingstanding – pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing (10 April 2015) to 19 offences under the Trade Marks Act 1994, relating to the possession of counterfeit goods including designer clothing, headphones, tobacco and cosmetics, for the purpose of selling them to customers.
Under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, Musejee was ordered to pay back £100,000 after the Court determined that he had made this sum from his criminal activity. If the amount is not paid within three months, Musejee faces a prison sentence of two years in default. He must also pay £3,000 in costs.
Musejee’s business, Phonetec UK Limited, was fined £100 for each of the 19 offences and was ordered to pay a total of £1,200 towards court and prosecution costs.
Musejee had previously received an eight-week suspended prison sentence for his involvement in the crime, at a hearing on 17th July 2015.
Birmingham City Council brought this case after Trading Standards officers received a complaint from a customer who bought a pair of Beats headphones from the shop and became suspicious they might be fake after they proved to be faulty.
Trading Standards officers inspecting the premises on 24 January 2014 seized more than 1,800 items suspected to be counterfeit goods – about 90 per cent of the shop’s stock – which had an estimated street value of £16,000.
The items in question bore registered trademarks such as Adidas, Dolce & Gabbana, UGG, Louis Vuitton, Apple, Hugo Boss and Beats, suggesting they were genuine products – even though they did not have the consent of the companies in question.
The products were subsequently examined by the companies’ representatives who confirmed that they were indeed counterfeit.
Councillor Barbara Dring, Chair of the city council’s Licensing and Public Protection Committee, said: “Counterfeiting is not a victimless crime – consumers who think they are snapping up a bargain can be put at risk by products which do not meet safety standards, while legitimate retailers are unable to compete with cheaper, poor quality goods being sold by unscrupulous traders, effectively putting local jobs at risk and damaging the city’s economy.
“This result sends out a clear message that the sale of counterfeit goods will not be tolerated in our city and that we will not hesitate to take action against anyone found doing so.”
Phonetec UK Limited, trading as Akee’s, was allowed to continue trading during this investigation, and remains open to the public.