Fraudster Steven Bowler has been ordered to pay back £48,000 – after being caught selling counterfeit golfing gear on eBay.
The 49-year-old has already been hit with a 14-month suspended prison sentence and 50-hours unpaid work after being busted as part of a trading standards investigation.
But he was hauled back before the courts this week and ordered to repay £48,000 of his ill-gotten gains through the Proceeds of Crime Act.
StokeonTrentLive has previously reported how Bowler sold more than 11,500 pieces of counterfeit golfing equipment – worth a total of £175,000.
It followed a tip-off from a reputable golf store which suspected Bowler was selling counterfeit goods – including golf covers, club grips and t-shirts – through his online Golf Covers account.
Bowler, of Shakespeare Close, was last year convicted of one count of fraudulent trading and nine counts under the Trade Marks Act. The offences covered a two-year period from June, 2015.
The investigation was led by Brand Fusion International and Staffordshire Trading Standards.
Following this week’s court hearing, county councillor Gill Heath, cabinet member for communities, said: “In addition to the sentence against Mr Bowler in 2019, which was a great outcome for our trading standards service, this order takes the profit out of Mr Bowler’s criminality.
“Counterfeiting costs legitimate businesses dearly and damages the economy and the court has clearly taken these offences very seriously.
“This investigation is a good example of partnership working in the fight against crime, which can lead to the recovery of assets. We will always consider applying for the confiscation of assets from criminals involved in such activity.”