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HELPING TRADING STANDARDS CONFISCATE£335,000 FROM COUNTERFEITER

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Assets Recovery Agency financial investigators were praised by a ...
Assets Recovery Agency financial investigators were praised by a

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.

Failure to pay will result in a five year prison term. This sends a

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

difficult case.

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

to pay.'

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.

Notes:

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.

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