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James McGovern made £300,000 from selling fake goods on Amazon, court hears
A HAMPSHIRE man made hundreds of thousands of pounds in less than two years by selling counterfeit batteries and camera accessories, a court heard.
Bags and boxes containing thousands of batteries, remote switches and controls were discovered when James McGovern’s Hampshire home was searched by Trading Standards officers.
Jurors heard how the 27-year-old banked more than £300,000 by selling the goods using big brand names such as Nikon, Canon and Casio over the space of 18 months.
McGovern, who was born in China, traded under the business name of Hot Deal using the Amazon Marketplace platform to advertise his goods, some of which were being sold for between £15 and £20 each, Portsmouth Crown Court heard.
But police started to investigate when they were made aware he was making transfers of large sums of money out of the country to China and Taiwan, jurors were told.
He denies all charges against him, claiming he was unaware the goods were counterfeit until shortly before his arrest.
Instead, the court heard, he blamed a third party for swapping genuine items during the delivery process.
The court was told how test purchases were made following the police enquiries which confirmed products were not genuine.
When his home, in Hamble High Street was raided in May last year, officers discovered a large number of bags and boxes full of batteries, electronic goods and camera accessories as well as unbranded items with separate packaging and separate instruction manuals, the trial heard.
Chinese contact After his arrest, McGovern revealed how the goods had been supplied through one of his aunt’s contacts in China.
He conceded that there were counterfeit goods in his property, but claimed he had travelled to China to investigate after noticing only a short time before that he was receiving three to four returns from customers a day, the court heard.
McGovern then claimed that a third party was swapping the genuine articles for counterfeit versions without his knowledge before they were transported to the UK, jurors were told.
He also claimed he had informed Chinese police and that on his return to England he was intending to report the matter to Hampshire Constabulary.
But the day after his trip to China, the court heard, his home was searched and he was arrested.
McGovern, now of Sapphire Court in Ocean Village, Southampton, first came to England as an asylum seeker in 2003 and was later granted British citizenship after spending a number of years with a host family in Northern Ireland from whom he took his name.
Jurors heard how he had been planning to train as a commercial airline pilot in the summer of 2012.
He has pleaded not guilty to counts of unauthorised use of a trademark, converting criminal property and acquiring criminal property.
The case continues.