Former Crawley woman fined over fake designer clothing
A former Crawley woman has been fined a total of Â£1,000 and ordered to pay Â£25,642.24 - proceeds from the sale of fake designer clothing on the internet, according to the county council.
A statement says that Maria Browning, 53, who used to live in North Road, Three Bridges, was sentenced at Brighton Crown Court on Friday (November 24), having admitted nine charges under the Trade Marks Act at a previous hearing.
The judge took into account her previous exemplary character and the fact she now lived in Spain and had returned to the UK twice, voluntarily.
He imposed the agreed confiscation order for £25,642.24, with payment to be made within three months or 12 months’ imprisonment if she defaulted.
Browning was fined £500 for each of the first two offences, with no separate penalty for remaining seven, and ordered to pay £2,000 costs, with payment to be made within four months.
In April, 2016, West Sussex Trading Standards officers became aware Browning was advertising supposed Calvin Klein underwear at cheap prices on the internet.
An officer made a test purchase of two pairs of boxer shorts, for £5 each, in June, 2016. They were sent to the brand’s representative, who confirmed they were fake items.
A warrant was granted to enter Browning’s then home, in Langley Green, Crawley, and Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren and Victoria’s Secret clothing and underwear were seized. Samples confirmed they were also fake.
Councillor Debbie Kennard, Cabinet Member for Safer and Stronger Communities, said: “Anyone thinking that the sale of counterfeit goods is a victimless crime is wrong: deceiving people into buying fake items is a serious offence that hurts both innocent buyers and legitimate businesses.
“I hope this court sentence will deter anyone tempted to sell fake, branded items in West Sussex.”
Trading Standards Team Manager Richard Sargeant added: “We are committed to stopping the sale of fake goods in our county.
“We will pursue anyone we discover undertaking this illegal activity.”
Anyone who thinks they have been a victim of an unfair trading practice can contact Trading Standards via Citizens Advice on 03454 04 05 06 or online via www.westsussex.gov.uk/tsreport