Luton man jailed for eBay fraud
A Luton eBay trader has been sentenced to 20 months in prison after an investigation by Luton Council's Trading Standards team.
Rohith Sharma, 35, of Warden Hill Close, was sentenced at Luton Crown Court on Wednesday 4 July, he pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to charges relating to trade marks, fraudulent trading and money laundering, sold counterfeit t-shirt and trainers on eBay over a period of around 3 years.
Following a complaint by a customer, Trading Standards officers raided his home in November 2015 where they seized a large quantity of clothing, along with computers, mobile devices and memory sticks. Trading Standards estimate that Sharma had a turnover of around £52,000 from his activities.
Examination of the evidence revealed that Sharma had planned his business operations to avoid detection. He had over 100 eBay accounts, many of which had been used for selling fake clothing, and multiple Paypal and bank accounts. The eBay accounts were in false names and addresses.
Mr Woolfe, representing Sharma, explained he had not realised when he started the sales that they were illegal, although admitted that after he became aware, he continued because he was trying to support his family.
In sentencing, Judge Kay told Sharma that having taken into account his defence comments, he nevertheless found that Sharma had a high culpability for the offences and that he had demonstrated a certain level sophistication and planning over a sustained period of time.
Mr Sharma will serve 10 months in prison and a further year on license.
Cllr Aslam Khan said “This case again demonstrates that Luton Council’s Trading Standards team will pursue fraudulent businesses and bring those responsible to court. The seriousness of these offences is reflected by the sentence handed down, and we hope that others tempted to engage in criminal activity will think again in light of this case.”
Luton Council will now be taking action under the Proceeds of Crime Act to seek forfeiture of the money made by Mr Sharma.