A MAN has pleaded guilty to selling counterfeit watches online.

On Monday, Warren Stuart Chung-Williams of Saltram Crescent and owner of Wristy Business Ltd, pleaded guilty to four offences at Teesside Crown Court in Middlesbrough.

An investigation into Chung-Williams by North Yorkshire trading standards officers, revealed a Michael Kors watch priced at £134.99 was fake.

The court heard how trading standards officers launched their investigating after receiving a complaint from a North Yorkshire resident, who had bought an Emporio Armani Ceramica watch from Chung-Williams' website for £145.99 in August.

The customer discovered it was fake when he took it to an Armani shop, after his watch developed a fault. Staff advised him he had bought a fake.

As part of their investigation, officers seized around 1,800 watches from a storage unit, whilst evidence recovered from a seized computer revealed watches were being bought from China.

Over an almost two-year period, around £1,156,610 had been raised between May 2016 and April 2018, and £567,193 had been 'sent' to China for the purchase of watches and packaging.

In court, Chung-Williams and Wristy Business Ltd pleaded guilty to offences of selling fake watches to the North Yorkshire customer and a trading standards officer, as well as 'possessing with a view to sell' 399 fake Michael Kors watches and 537 fake Armani watches.

Sentencing Chung-Williams to a twelve-month jail term, and suspended sentence of 18 months for the Trade Marks Act offences, Judge Sean Morris said: “I accept that your business was dealing in a mixture of legitimate and illegitimate watches but it seems to me that you are a fraudster, you’ve been before the courts before.

"You’ve had a suspended sentence for stealing from employers in 2008, you then came back before the courts in 2009 when you received three years.

"Having come out of that sentence you then were bang at it again, this time you were given a suspended sentence.

"The purpose of the sentence is to ensure that you give up on crime but you didn’t and you’ve been bang at it again.

"You are a disreputable and dishonest man.”

North Yorkshire County Councillor Andrew Lee, who is also the portfolio holder for trading standards, said: “The sale and supply of counterfeit goods is damaging not only to consumers who are misled and pay large amounts of money for fakes, but also to genuine businesses, both trade mark holders and retailers, who lose money from sales and also because the brand reputation is tarnished.

“I would encourage residents not to buy fakes knowingly and to report any concerns they have about products they suspect are fake.”

  • Those concerned about counterfeit goods can contact Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454-040506.