At Bristol Crown Court yesterday, Neil Edgell, of Cook Close, got 11 months for counterfeiting and nine months for fraudulently receiving benefits.
At a previous court appearance in February he had pleaded guilty to 27 charges under the Trade Marks Act relating to selling and possessing counterfeit accessories for luxury vehicle brands such as BMW, Mercedes and Porsche. He also admitted the benefit fraud.
Mrs Edgell had pleaded guilty to benefit fraud offences at an appearance last December and yesterday she received an eight-month sentence, suspended for two years. She was also ordered to pay costs of £2,376.
The court heard that 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 three years. The overpayment is being repaid.
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 Neil 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 & Olufsen headphones.
A number of laptop computers were also seized as well as information indicating that benefit claims were being made from the Cook Close address. This information was shared with the benefit fraud team.
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.”