4 July 2016Trademarks

Divine justice as BMW counterfeiters jailed

A church warden and his wife have been sent to prison after admitting to selling fake BMW merchandise worth millions of pounds.

Stephen Anderson, 49, and his wife Elizabeth Anderson, from Northern Ireland, made more than £1 million ($1.3 million) after selling the fake parts on online auction site eBay.

An investigation into the couple found that goods including tyre valve caps, car stickers and cuff links were imported regularly from South East Asia before being sold online.

The counterfeiting helped finance a glamorous lifestyle for the pair, who bought two luxury sports cars and vast quantities of designer clothing. The Andersons have been sentenced to a combined total of two years in prison.

The couple were caught after the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO), which worked closely with BMW, began a financial investigation in 2013.

According to the IPO, the warden and his wife were making more than £40,000 a month.

Colin Gillis, detective chief inspector in Northern Ireland’s reactive and organised crime unit, said: “The market for car products linked to prestige brands is substantial. Those who seek to subvert this market by making and selling counterfeit products are putting jobs at risk and reducing legitimate profits.

“We remain committed to working with industry to ensure that producers, workers and the public are protected from fraudsters. I would urge anyone with information about the manufacture, distribution or sale of any counterfeit products to contact police.”

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