A karate teacher was jailed for four years after selling fake DVDs and counterfeit foot care products.
Stephen Anthony Clarke Gostling, 56, has been convicted by London’s Interior Crown Court of nine offenses, including running a fraudulent business that brought him in over Â£ 500,000, the Southwark Borough Council has said.
He pleaded guilty to all counts, which also included money laundering and offenses related to the distribution of counterfeit products.
The court heard that Gostling used 22 eBay accounts, 28 PayPal accounts, and 31 bank accounts, which he created using around 30 different names to run his home business.
He has used the accounts to sell counterfeit products and launder the product for over five years.
The Southwark Council’s Trading Standards team identified Gostling in 2017, when it reported one of its eBay accounts.
He was arrested after anti-piracy investigators from the Film Content Protection Agency, working for the Film Distributors’ Association, made test purchases of a Batman V Superman DVD and a Harry Potter box set, and both have been confirmed to be counterfeit.
Southwark Trading Standards traced four Gostling-related addresses from its PayPal and eBay accounts, including a self-storage unit in Beckenham, South London, and three nearby residential addresses in Penge and South Norwood.
They seized 2,823 fake DVDs, 633 fake Scholl pedicure rolls and several laptops from the addresses.
During his conviction at the Inner London Crown Court, Mr Recorder Dawson told Gostling: “You are engaging in fraud at a significant level and only an immediate custodial sentence is warranted.”
Southwark Council adviser Darren Merrill said Gostling, of Birkbeck Road, Beckenham, “went to great lengths” to cover up his criminal activities.
He said: âThis sentence should serve as a serious warning that the courts see DVD piracy and counterfeiting for what it is – fraud.
âThis is customer fraud and fraud on our film industries, which contributes significantly to the UK economy.
âGostling went to great lengths to cover up the fact that he was making money tricking thousands of customers into buying questionable DVDs.
“I am happy that thanks to the investigative skills of our trade standards team, the company has been shut down and any profits it has made are liable to be confiscated.”
Anyone wishing to report the sale of counterfeit products can call Trading Standards or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.