Man who made over £1m jailed for selling fake designer watches

A conman who made more than £1m selling counterfeit watches online has been jailed.

A fake Armani watch similar to the one seized by trading standard officers.
A fake Armani watch similar to the one seized by trading standard officers.

Warren Stuart Chung-Williams' crimes came to light when Ben Gannon, from North Yorkshire bought an Emporio Armani Ceramica watch from his Wristy Business website for £145.99.

The watch was sold with a certificate of authenticity, but when it developed a fault, Mr Gannon decided to take it to an Armani shop for repair and was told it was fake.

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A trading standards officer made a test purchase of a Michael Kors watch, which cost £134.99, two months later, which was also found to be fake.

During their investigation, officers seized around 1,800 watches from a storage unit rented by the business.

Evidence recovered from a computer seized at Chung-Williams’ home address showed he was buying watches directly from sources in China and bought packaging and bar codes separately to make the watches appear genuine.

The business sold watches through its own website and also through Wowcher, Fruugo and Secret Sales.

Investigation of company and personal financial records showed a turnover of £1,156,610 between May 2016 and April 2018, with Wristy Business and Chung-Williams sending a total of £567,193 to China to buy watches and packaging.

Chung-Williams and Wristy Business Ltd each pleaded guilty to offences of selling fake watches to Mr Gannon and the trading standards officer, and possessing with a view to sale 399 fake Michael Kors watches and 537 fake Armani watches.

Teeside Crown Court heard Chung-Williams has previous convictions for theft and fraud relating to counterfeit credit cards, and fraud relating to counterfeit Oyster cards.

Chung-Williams was still subject to a suspended sentence for the Oyster card offending at the time he sold the watch to Mr Gannon.

Judge Sean Morris activated his suspended sentence. In total he was jailed for two years and six months for his crimes.

Judge Morris said: "I accept that your business was dealing in a mixture of legitimate and illegitimate watches but it seems to me that you are a fraudster, you’ve been before the courts before, you’ve had a suspended sentence for stealing from employers in 2008, you then came back before the courts in 2009 when you received three years…having come out of that sentence you then were bang at it again, this time you were given a suspended sentence.

“The purpose of the sentence is to ensure that you give up on crime but you didn’t and you’ve been bang at it again. You are a disreputable and dishonest man.”

No separate penalty was imposed on Wristy Business Ltd as Chung-Williams is its sole director.

Confiscation proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act will now follow for both Chung-Williams and the company.

North Yorkshire County Councillor Andrew Lee, portfolio holder for trading standards said: “The sale and supply of counterfeit goods is damaging not only to consumers who are misled and pay large amounts of money for fakes, but also to genuine businesses, both trade mark holders and retailers, who lose money from sales and also because the brand reputation is tarnished.

“I would encourage residents not to buy fakes knowingly and to report any concerns they have about products they suspect are fake.”

Consumers can report concerns or obtain advice about fake goods from the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06.