BY TOBY PORTER
A shopkeeper has days to stump up £135,000 in criminal gains after he was prosecuted for selling fake DVDs from his post office.
Varinder Singh Saini was also ordered by the judge to pay costs of a further £25,000, at Inner London Crown Court on July 2.
If the confiscation figure of £135,000 is not paid within 28 days, Saini will be sent back to jail for a further 12 months.
The confiscation hearing follows Southwark council’s successful prosecution of Saini in November 2016, when he was sentenced to 25 months’ imprisonment for offences under the Fraud Act 2006 and Trade Marks Act 1994.
Saini, 37, of Tatum Street, Walworth, originally ran his crooked operation from a post office in Southwark Park Road.
The offences took place throughout 2014 and were initially discovered by film industry anti-piracy investigators, the Federation Against Copyright Theft.
The crimes were reported to Southwark council’s trading standard’s team, which led the investigation, conducting test purchases, followed by a number of raids of the defendant’s flat and the post office where he worked.
He subsequently pleaded guilty to offences relating to the supply of around 7,000 counterfeit DVDs, including Frozen and box sets such as Breaking Bad.
Searches of the home revealed a well organised and highly profitable enterprise was ongoing, with Saini ordering the goods from China and then packaging them up at home for postage via the Post Office he managed.
Counterfeit Disney hologram stickers (pictured above), that had been stuck on certain DVDs to make them appear genuine, were also found.
The business flourished in late 2014, despite a warning letter from HM Border Force advising that they had detained a consignment of DVDs addressed to Saini, as it was believed they were infringing goods.
Over the past five years, confiscation orders totalling £484,000 have been achieved by Southwark trading standards in relation to intellectual property crime.
Cllr Victoria Mills, cabinet member for finance, performance and Brexit, said: “Supporting local businesses and achieving a strong local economy is a priority for the council.
Our work combating the illegal economy in unsafe, illicit and counterfeit products protects both shoppers and good, solid local businesses here in Southwark.
“I am pleased that Mr Saini now has to pay back his ill-gotten gains from defrauding both customers and the creative film industry.
This result should serve as a warning that we will not hesitate to use the Proceeds of Crime Act to protect our residents and ensure that criminals do not benefit from their crimes.”