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Man jailed for selling fake clothes on ebay.

Byline: Julia Bosnyak

A SOUTH Wales man has been jailed after selling hundreds of fake designer clothes on ebay.

Huw David Rees, who worked for British Transport Police, had been selling fake clothes through the online auction site, including more than 400 pairs of counterfeit Diesel cargo shorts, a court has heard.

The 28-year-old, of Commercial Street, Maesteg, admitted transferring criminal property and three counts of unauthorised use of a trademark.

Alex Greenwood, prosecuting for Bridgend County Borough Council, said the business involved supplying clothes, probably via a connection in Thailand. The goods, which included fakes of brands including Evisu and G-Star, were sent to customers by Rees or from overseas.

Mr Greenwood said Rees was operating under at least two ebay user names. Several PayPal accounts were registered to those accounts for transferring funds.

In September 2006, trading standards officers began to track one of Rees' accounts, which was registered to his partner. The court heard that in a two-year history provided by ebay, pounds 8,393 was received on the Pay Pal account for that account and pounds 88,125.20 on an associated account.

On February 23, 2007, council officers and police from the regional asset recovery agency searched Rees' home and seized two laptops, 75 pairs of fake Diesel pants and 27 pairs of Evisu jeans.

One of the laptops was broken, but the other contained picture files and e-mails relating to the sale of clothes on ebay.

In interview, Rees admitted opening the account in his partner's name.

He said a friend named Kenny Rees, originally from Pontyclun, but living in Thailand, whom he had met on holiday there about six years ago, also had access to the account.

"The defendant maintained Kenny would photograph the items, put them on the ebay account, and deal with e-mails when queries arose," said Mr Greenwood.

Rees told officers he was the only one with access to the PayPal accounts and said he would be paid for his involvement after sending money to Kenny.

"The money he received would pay for holiday flights to Thailand where Kenny would put him up," said Mr Greenwood.

Printouts of Rees' various accounts showed that since 2004 thousands of items of clothing were sold and he admitted transferring funds into Kenny's HSBC account.

"The money laundering charge relates to a snapshot of the defendant's bank account between February 2, 2006, and February 22, 2007," Mr Greenwood told Newport Crown Court.

"During this time the sum of pounds 58,705 was paid into the account and pounds 69,686 withdrawn and or transferred into accounts in the name of Kenny Rees."

Andrew Davies, in mitigation, said Rees, who has no previous convictions, had been made a "fall guy" in the operation.

"The view of this defendant was that these designer goods were so cheap that the people buying them knew that they were fake."

He was jailed for 12 months.

julia.bosnyak@mediawales.co.uk

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FAKES: Trading standards officer Ellis Roberts with the counterfeit goods
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jan 1, 2009
Words:504
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