Tycoon in ‘Viagra’ tablets scam must pay back £14m or face new jail term

A TYCOON who made a fortune selling fake Viagra tablets was yesterday ordered to pay back more than £14m or face 10 years in jail.

Martin Hickman, 52, lived in a four-bedroom farmhouse in Ashton-Under-Lyne, Greater Manchester, owned a property in Marbella, Spain and paid £2.5m for a riverside Chelsea apartment in west London.

Hickman also drove a top-of-the-line Range Rover with a number plate bearing his initials, and a Bentley with a number plate L13 RGE.

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The former bankrupt businessman funded his luxury lifestyle by selling millions of pounds worth of unlicensed Viagra-like erectile dysfunction drugs over the internet.

Investigators found that his website, MSH World Traders, had a turnover of £6.1m in just three years and made him a profit of £3.4 m.

But some of the pills he was buying from India and selling to clients all over Europe were fakes, made to look like the licensed Viagra product, and others were not legal to sell in the UK.

He also sold sex toys, herbal aphrodisiacs and pumps designed to increase penis size.

Hickman, of Lily Lanes, Ashton-under-Lyne, was jailed for two years in 2009, following a criminal investigation by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

He was sentenced to a further 22 months in prison in January 2011 for Contempt of Court after he tried to obtain a passport by deception and for selling a property in breach of a court restraint order. He is not currently serving a jail sentence.

A financial investigation by the North West Regional Asset Recovery Team (NWRART) was also launched to get any assets Hickman made through crime.

Hickman tried to cover his track by creating dozens of bank accounts across the globe to launder cash via offshore accounts in Malta, Holland and the Cayman Islands.

But at Southwark Crown Court yesterday Hickman was found to have benefited by £15,427,850.28 from his criminal enterprise. He was ordered to repay £14,407,850.28 within six months or face a further 10 years in prison and still be liable for the order.

Detective Chief Inspector Neil Ashton, head of the NWRART, said Hickman had made personal fortune by selling illegal pills to thousands of unsuspecting victims. .

“Owing to a thorough partnership investigation, the MHRA and NWRART ensured Hickman lost his liberty as well as his assets.

“To put this result into perspective, I think it is fair to say that this one single confiscation order eclipses any that have gone before and is higher than all confiscation orders secured by NWRART collectively last year.”