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Saturday, 20 September 2014

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Internet fraudster will sell home to pay back £105k

A FRAUDSTER will have to sell his home to repay £105,000 in court costs and the money he made from selling fake goods online.

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MEMORY STICKS: Some of the evidence seized by Cumbria County Council’s Trading Standards team during a search warrant at the home of Stephen Bradshaw, inset, in 2008

Stephen Bradshaw sold more than 2,000 counterfeit Sony branded memory cards and memory sticks through online auction sites eBay and Amazon, between July 2007 and July 2008.

The 45-year-old received a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and was ordered to do 100 hours’ unpaid work after admitting 12 counts of unauthorised possession of trademark goods at Lancaster Crown Court last September.

Cumbria County Council’s Trading Standards yesterday made a proceeds of crime application – its biggest to date – to order Bradshaw to hand over the profits he made selling the fake items.

Bradshaw admitted he would be forced to sell his home – Glencoe, at The Green, near Millom – in order to pay a total of £105,000, including £18,000 court costs.

Prosecutor, Mr David Traynor, told Preston Crown Court: “The offending behaviour was fraudulent trading of memory cards on eBay. The prosecution has analysed the bank account and the benefit figure, made up of the money going into the account without explanation, was £168,000.

“Following numerous discussions over the last few weeks, the two parties have agreed terms and the confiscation amount is for £87,000. There is also a cost application for £18,000 for Cumbria County Council.”

Defence barrister, Mr Nick Kennedy, admitted Bradshaw would have to sell his home in order to pay up within the six month time limit.

Mr Kennedy said: “The order of payment is dependent upon the sale by the defendant of his home, which is valued at £400,000. It is still on the market.”

When Trading Standards raided Bradshaw’s home in July 2008, just three days after they were alerted to his fraudulent activity by a complaint from one of his customers, they seized thousands of memory cards and sticks, a computer and a mobile phone.

The computer will be retained by Trading Standards, but Bradshaw asked if he could download family pictures from the PC.

Mr Kennedy said: “It has been agreed that the defendant, upon appointment with Trading Standards, will be able to download onto DVD the contents of the hard drive, including family photographs, under the watchful eye of Trading Standards.”

Angela Jones, Cumbria Trading Standards manager, said: “This is the largest Proceeds of Crime award the department has received to date and shows that we will not just prosecute individuals engaged in this sort of criminal activity but will actively seek to take back any profits they have made by their criminal activities.”

If Bradshaw fails to repay on time he will face a custodial sentence and will still have to repay all the money when released.

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