AN ELGIN WOMAN has been sentenced to 165hours community service at Elgin Sheriff Court after admitting using Facebook to sell £40,000 worth of counterfeit goods.
Joan Stewart, 42, entered a guilty plea to a number of charges of selling and possessing with a view to sell the good in breach of the Trade Marks Act 1994.
Stewart created two pages on the social media site under the banner ‘Named Brands’ and ‘Brand Names Elgin’ – but was caught after Moray Council Trading Standards officers became aware of her activities and made a series of test purchases in conjunction with Highland Council officers.
The court heard that a raid on Stewart’s Elgin address by Trading Standards and Police Scotland in May 2014 recovered 46 evidence bags full good seized counterfeit goods that included fake Armani and Barbour jackets, Chanel scarves and jewellery and Ralph Lauren shirts.
Defending Stewart in court was solicitor Stephen Carty, who told Sheriff Chris Dickson that his client was “a very small cog in a much bigger operation” and was never aware of the gravity of the situation. The court learned that Stewart had been drawn into selling the goods after visiting a market in Manchester and purchasing items she knew to be fake, later reaching an agreement with the stall holder that she would sell items via social media.
Sheriff Dickson told Stewart that she could easily have been sent to prison – but noted that she was looking after three children so applied the community service order.
Following the outcome Moray Council’s Trading Standards manager Peter Adamson said: “We are very pleased with this result which reflects on the seriousness of this particular case and on the hard work and diligence of our officers and partners in bringing this investigation to a conclusion.
“Moray Council trading standards are committed to protecting the residents and businesses of Moray from unscrupulous rogue traders and the counterfeit goods that they try to sell.
“This case is a warning to other dealers of fake goods that if they continue to carry out this type of criminal activity we will find them and, once caught, they will face significant penalties for their actions.”