A rogue internet trader who sold fake versions of headphones and other gadgets from top brands has been jailed.
Michael Reeder, 35, of Portsmouth, Hampshire, was convicted by a jury at the city’s Crown Court of 10 offences of possessing fake goods and three charges of selling counterfeit products.
The charges were brought after Portsmouth City Council’s trading standards officers raided his premises twice in 2011 and seized more than 2,000 items including fake Monster, Sennheiser and Sony headphones, counterfeit Apple accessories, plus counterfeit iPhone cases, PlayStation controllers and Wii accessories..
The court heard that Reeder was set to have gained £168,000 if he had sold all of the items which he was selling at about 100 per cent mark-up on the price he paid for them from his unauthorised supplier in China.
The father of two young children was originally selling the items through his own website called Odds and Pods but after he was subjected to the first raid, he changed premises and website to one called Nice Cans.
His victims included a Bristol school which ordered a batch of Sennheiser headphones, a student who bought fake Monster Beats headphones and a student who bought fake Nintendo Wii controllers.
Reeder’s illegal trading was initially discovered after customers complained about the poor goods. This led to the first raid in February 2011. He later told trading standards that he had ceased trading but a seizure at East Midlands Airport in August 2011 revealed that he was still active.
Sentencing Reeder to two and a half years in prison and ordering the destruction of the fake stock, the judge, Recorder Phillipa Whipple QC, said: “This is a fraud on ordinary customers, ordinary members of the public who paid for things they did not get.
“Secondly, the manufacturers are entitled to protection for their intellectual property rights and they were too stolen from.”
Tim Sparkes, defending, said that Reeder had set up his business after he was involved in a serious motorcycle accident in 2002 which left him with a disabled right arm.
He said: “He wanted to prove he could do anything that other people could do and do it even better. He wanted to prove to himself and his wife and the wider community that he could do well in business.”
He added: “His view of life now in what he has done is that he is not only angry at himself, he wishes to apologise.”
Portsmouth Council’s trading standards manager Peter Emmet said: “This has been the most complex and difficult investigation ever undertaken by our team, producing more than 2,000 pages of evidence.”