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Counterfeit goods businessman ordered to pay back £750,000 or face five years more in prison

A man found guilty of running a fake goods business online has been ordered to hand back three quarters of a million pounds of illicit earnings – or face a further five years in prison.

In August last year, Gregory William Whitehead, 50, most recently of Tregrehan Hill, St Austell, was jailed for 32 months and William Thomas Lemoyne, 37, formerly of Trevenson Street, Camborne, but now living in France, was handed a two year suspended sentence.

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Both men had pleaded guilty to conspiring to supply counterfeit goods, including fake car accessories, toys and musical instrument accessories.

At a hearing at Truro Crown Court on Monday, Cornwall Council’s Trading Standards Officers successfully secured a proceeds of crime order against the duo as part of the civil process to recover the illegal benefit of their crime.

The court accepted that in total, the business had generated £1.75 million in illegal turnover.

For his part in the operation, former postmaster Whitehead was ordered to pay back £750,000 or face a further five years imprisonment. Lemoyne was ordered to pay back £1,300.

Gary Webster, Senior Trading Standards Officer said: “Today’s result sends a clear message to those who seek to profit by selling counterfeit goods.

“Where appropriate, we will always seek to recover any benefits made from illegal trading and take the profit out of crime.”

The proceeds of crime legislation is designed to help law enforcement agencies to identify money or assets gained by criminals during the course of their criminal activity. Agencies have powers to seek to confiscate these assets following conviction for relevant offences.

Rob Nolan, Cornwall's Portfolio holder for the Environment and Public Protection, said: “It may be a cliché, but this just shows that crime does not pay.

“I would like to pay tribute to the excellent work of our trading standards team, whose diligence throughout this long-running investigation has led to this result.”