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Counterfeit shoe sellers ordered to pay back £80,000

A Kingston couple jailed in 2011 for selling fake designer shoes online from their Hook Rise home have been ordered to pay £80,000 of the amount identified as their profit from the crime.

However, Kingston Council which helped to convict the pair may see only about £30,000 of the money raised by the sale of the criminals’ assets identified under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Antoine Simhani, aged 47, and Fan Cheung, 45, admitted in 2011 importing cheap quality counterfeit shoes from China purporting to be ‘Lelli Kelly’, ‘Disney’ and other popular brands and selling them on eBay.

Their illegal trade was uncovered following a complaint from a member of the public and was investigated by Kingston Trading Standards.

Council officers found more than 10,000 pairs of fake shoes when they raided the couple’s home in January 2010.

This week a court made an order for £80,000 to be paid within six months, although the couple are understood to have made £362,000 from their counterfeit trade.

The money is likely to be raised from the sale of the criminals’ home in Hook Rise South and the sale of two cars.

"A hidden cost"

“This was one of the largest ever seizures of counterfeit goods in Kingston. Anyone selling fake merchandise runs the risk of not just a criminal conviction, imprisonment, as in this case but also of losing their home to pay for their crime. 

“Cheap counterfeit items may seem tempting bargains but there is a hidden cost attached. Honest local traders lose trade to the crooks, local people are robbed of job opportunities and quite often the source of the counterfeit goods involves the use of cheap labour in poor conditions in less developed countries. The lower cost of the items reflects the quality of the goods.”

David Booker, Kingston Council’s Group Manager for Environmental Health and Trading Standards