Counterfeit golf gang found guilty as charged

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$4 to $6 billion of counterfeit golf equipment is sold annually – that’s the estimate of Mike Rider, Sr. VP and General Counsel, Callaway Golf, as he welcomed the verdict of Snaresbrook Crown Court who found a gang guilty of trading fake goods on eBay.

In the five years up to 2008 the team sold millions of pounds worth of fake golf clubs and other merchandise through eBay until an unhappy customer contacted Havering Trading Standards. eBay’s Fraud Investigation Team swung into action working with Trading Standards to provide evidence from eBay and PayPal accounts, as well giving testimony at court.

Callaway said that they “create technologically advanced equipment aimed at improving golfers performance whilst counterfeiters interests lie solely in stealing a product’s exterior cosmetics and consumers’ hard-earned money”. Whilst the products might look the same the copies just don’t perform the same as the originals.

eBay said of the case that since launching their first anti-counterfeit measures in 1998 they lead the industry in the fight against the global trade in counterfeits, with no organisation doing more to combat the sale of counterfeits online. eBay worked for over three years assisting Trading Standards to bring about this successful prosecution.

The question has to be asked how the gang managed to get away with selling counterfeits for so long? The Times provides some insight – There was an international network of criminals who opened and maintained eBay accounts using a variety of false documentation, bank, credit card and contact details. The operation was run along the lines of a legitimate business with people employed to handle customer complaints. It was one unhappy customer that didn’t get a reply who then approached Trading Standards leading to the investigation that nailed the gang.

Talking of the ringleader Trading Standards warned that “the golf clubs are still being sold and we can’t rule out money being filtered back to him somehow. It is too much of a money earner for it to die, its too big to stop”.


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