crown court judge when he made a confiscation order for£334,793.61.
ARA used its expertise to help Waltham Forest LBC's trading standards
secure the order against a counterfeiter who was fined just£200.
clear message to criminals who think counterfeiting is high reward
and low risk that crime doesn't pay.
Victor Tin Yau Cheng pleaded guilty on 23 June 2003 to three counts
of unauthorised use of trademarks and one count of selling goods
bearing an unauthorised trade mark. All four counts concerned mobile
phone covers bearing the mark of well known companies - Manchester
United, Mercedes Benz, Porsche and Nike.
A detailed investigation into his financial affairs revealed
significant financial benefits from crime and yesterday at
Snaresbrook crown court, Judge Platt granted a confiscation
order of£334,793.61 and commended the ARA investigators for their
diligence and professionalism in investigating a complex and
Barry Smith, Waltham Forest cabinet member for community safety,
said: 'One thing is for sure, the goods might be fake but the
consequences of this crime are real. Working with the Asset Recovery
Agency the council has shown counterfeiters how seriously we take
this type of crime. I hope this serves as a warning to others that
using new legislation we can and will take action to ensure they do
not profit from their illegal activities.'
Adrian Brenton, assistant director of operations at the Assets
Recovery Agency said: 'This is an excellent example of inter-agency
co-operation. We were able to assist Waltham Forest trading
standards in taking money out of the criminal economy. Counterfeiting
is often viewed as a high-reward but low-risk crime with small fines
and short prison sentences. Confiscating assets hits criminals where
it hurts - in their pockets, with lengthy prison terms if they fail
The agency is currently assisting partner law enforcement and
prosecuting agencies in another 19 cases with and has restrained
assets of over£4m.
Mr Cheng was sentenced yesterday and fined£50 for each offence. He
has until 31 December to pay the£334,793.61. If he defaults, he will
serve five years and still owe the money at the end of the term.
1. The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 created the Assets Recovery Agency
and provided completely new powers to allow ARA to seek civil
recovery of the proceeds of unlawful activity by an action in the
High Court. The agency can also issue tax assessments where there are
reasonable grounds to suspect that there is income, gain or profit
from criminal conduct.
2. In addition to these unique powers, the agency is committed to
building capacity for effective financial investigation throughout
the law enforcement community and it offers its expertise to other
agencies to assist them in confiscating criminal assets.