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					                                                     Communications Unit


News                                                 County Hall, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL7 8AD
                                                     Tel: 01609 532206 Fax: 01609 777951
                                                     www.northyorks.gov.uk



Counterfeit games prove expensive
A Whitby man who ran a part-time business making and selling counterfeit copies of Playstation,
and other console games has found that crime really does not pay.

The case is the result of a joint investigation by North Yorkshire County Council trading standards
and North Yorkshire Police. The seller of the counterfeit goods has been made the subject of a
confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act and now has to pay the Court more than
£69,000.

Geoffrey Hogarth, 54 of Resolution Way, Whitby was charged with 7 offences against the Trade
Marks Act 1968, involving selling discs with counterfeit copies of games which included the trade
marks of several software companies and the Sony “Playstation” trade mark itself.

Following a complaint from the Leisure Publishers Association, a lengthy investigation by North
Yorkshire County Council trading standards found a number of websites operated by Hogarth
offering copies of hundreds of games as well as console modification chips and other items.
Hogarth claimed to offer a “back-up” service for owners of genuine games discs but, as he
admitted, never checked whether anyone who ordered from him actually had a genuine version.

In March this year Hogarth pleaded guilty to all the charges at Northallerton Magistrates Court but
because there was a financial investigation under the Proceeds of Crime Act the case was
committed to the Crown Court at Teesside for sentence and consideration of confiscation.

At Crown Court on 4th May he was sentenced to 15 months in prison, suspended for 18 months
and was ordered to pay prosecution costs of over £2,900. North Yorkshire Police conducted the
financial investigation and because offences against the Trade Marks Act are classed as “criminal
lifestyle” offences, the Court, and the investigators can consider all an offender’s assets and make
assumptions about the source of those assets. The result of that investigation was presented at
Crown Court last Friday, 2nd September when the forfeiture order was made.

Councillor John Fort, the County Council’s executive member for trading standards, said: “This
case is a good example of successful joint working between enforcement agencies and it
demonstrates that criminals can no longer expect to hold on to the profits generated by their
crimes. The offender stands to lose all assets unless he can prove, to the Court’s satisfaction that
they have come from legitimate sources.”

07/09/05                  Contact: Graham Venn, head of trading standards 01609 766408
Executive member: County Councillor John Fort (Con) 01423-780674
Group spokespeople: County Councillor John Marshall (Lib-Dem) 01423-568580, County
Councillor Steve Shaw-Wright (Lab) 01757-708849

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