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Sunday, June 18, 2017

Life Funded by Selling Luxury Designer Counterfeit Labels

A dishonest businessman who funded a luxury lifestyle by running a large-scale counterfeit designer clothing company has been jailed.


Vinay Kumar Hansrani (48) splashed out some of the profits of his "sophisticated and successful illegal business enterprise" on several cars including an £187,000 Rolls-Royce and an Audi A5 – while declaring profits to the taxman of just a few thousand pounds.
Leicester Crown Court was told that when city council's trading standard officers raided his factory, called Can, in Halkin Street, Belgrave, Leicester, in December 2011, they seized nearly 6,000 counterfeit items with an estimated retail value of between £239,000 and £478,000 – although Hansrani's cut would have been about £100,000.

In a 20-month period, £364,000 of unexplained cash went into his bank accounts.

'The whole place was full of boxes of counterfeit items'

He spent the money on a £187,000 Rolls-Royce

Jane Sarginson, prosecuting, said that when the premises were raided three embroidery machines, worth £30,000 each, were churning out clothes with fake designer logos, including Armani, Gucci, Boss and Ralph Lauren.
"It was a work in progress," she said, "The whole place was full of boxes of counterfeit items, from top to bottom, on both floors."
Ms Sarginson said supplies were delivered nationwide, including to numerous customers in Manchester, but also Glasgow, London and Exeter for onward sale by warehouses and retail outlets. Hansrani (48), of Hall Close, Kibworth, was jailed for two years. Sentencing, Recorder Heidi Kubik said she took into account the six-year delay in bringing the case to court and his ill health.
She said: "It was entirely your own enterprise and you were blatantly spending money from profits on several separate transactions on several vehicles, including a Rolls-Royce.
"It was a sophisticated and successful illegal business enterprise."

What the defendant pleaded guilty to

Labels found at the factory

The defendant pleaded guilty to 29 counts of possessing trademark logos and labels, relating to world-famous designer brands including Boss, Barbour, Diesel, Fred Perry, Lacoste, Gucci, Superdry, Tiffany & Co, Adidas and Nike.
He also admitted three counts of application of a trademark, by using a sign likely to be mistaken for a registered trade mark.

He admitted possessing three embroidery machines adapted to make copies of trademarks.
Hansrani pleaded guilty to money laundering of £198,000, relating to car purchases, between March 2011 and April 2012.

'He recognises the stupidity in going into counterfeiting'

Vinay Kumar Hansrani outside Leicester Crown Court

Nicholas Flanagan, mitigating, said that before 2011, Hansrani ran a legitimate family business in textiles.
When a major customer went out of business, the defendant was forced to make redundancies which caused "significant hardship".
Mr Flanagan said: "He now recognises the stupidity in going into counterfeiting to keep his business afloat."
The barrister disputed the estimated value of the goods seized. He said Hansrani accepted being "a key integral part" of the black market chain, but he also had legitimate contracts, including supplying clothing for schools.
The money laundering related to five or six transactions with car dealers and the Rolls Royce was bought with a view to using it for weddings, which never got off the ground and he sold it having done less than 10,000 miles in it at "a considerable loss."
Mr Flanagan said the six-year gap between arrest and sentence had a detrimental effect on Hansrani and his family, resulting in ill-health, stress and anxiety.
References spoke highly of him as a churchgoer, charity fund-raiser and voluntary work. He was no longer running a business but working in a warehouse to support his family.

'It was a long and complex inquiry'

A number of branded hoodies were found in the factory

Afterwards, Ron Ruddock, manager of the city council's trading standards department, said: "We are pleased with the sentence. Mr Hansrani was given a significant reduction for his personal circumstances and the delay in the prosecution.
"It was a long and complex inquiry into this sophisticated operation that saw goods going in blank, being embroidered and coming out branded.
"We prosecute such cases not just to protect the brand-holders but legitimate businesses and traders who comply with the law."

The delay in the complex investigation was due to a number of factors, explained Ms Sarginson, including obtaining statements from all 29 designer brand companies to confirm sample goods were fake.
It involved following a financial trail with limited departmental resources due to "austerity measures," tracking down more than 70 trading contacts, of which only four turned out to run legitimate businesses.


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