Raid uncovers counterfeiting fraud
This news article was published more than a year ago. Some of the information may no longer be accurate.
Neil Edgell of Cook Close, Oldland Common was sentenced to 20 months in prison, nine months for benefit fraud and 11 months for counterfeiting. Hannah Edgell, also of Cook Close, Oldland Common received an eight month sentence suspended for two years for benefit fraud offences. She was also ordered to pay costs of £2,376.
Mr Edgell previously appeared at Bristol Crown Court on February 18 and pleaded guilty to all charges under the Social Security Administration Act as he also admitted to benefit fraud. In addition, Mr Edgell pleaded guilty to a further 27 charges under the Trade Marks Act relating to selling and possessing counterfeit accessories for luxury vehicle brands such as BMW, Mercedes and Porsche. Hannah Edgell pleaded guilty to benefit fraud offences at the crown court on December 17, 2013.
As well as the counterfeiting business, the Edgells had individually claimed state benefits on the basis that they had no earned income. During the course of their claims the couple made a number of false statements which resulted in them fraudulently receiving in excess of £46,000 in benefits over a three year period.
The overpayment is being repaid and the housing benefit is being repaid at £40 a month.
South Gloucestershire Trading Standards took on the counterfeiting case after a test purchase of a BMW foot pedal set and vehicle badge was made from Neil Edgell’s company website. The items, which bore the BMW ‘M’ logo, were counterfeit. Further checks revealed sales of similar items by Edgell on Ebay.
A warrant was executed at his home address and a related address in November 2011 when significant quantities of similar vehicle accessories were seized along with other suspected counterfeit items such as copies of Microsoft Office Professional 2010 software and Bang and Olufsen headphones. A number of laptop computers were also detained as well as information indicating that benefit claims were being made from the Cook Close address. This information was shared with our benefit fraud team to investigate.
Leading the trading standards investigation for South Gloucestershire Council, Neil Derrick said: “Online payment service checks revealed over three years Mr Edgell had sold approximately 20,000 items of suspected counterfeit car accessories. Of these, more than 15,000 were fake BMW vehicle accessories generating an estimated income in excess of £400,000, according to his Paypal records.”
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