A PENARTH man has been ordered to pay back £130,000 after being found guilty of selling unsafe cosmetics, counterfeit goods and jewellery breaching hallmarking requirements.
Sean Payter was convicted in 2019 following a Trading Standards investigation for the Vale of Glamorgan Council and today faced a Proceeds of Crime Hearing.
There the judge decided he must repay a significant sum gained from his illegal activity over the next three months.
Shared Regulatory Services (SRS), who undertake trading standards work across the Local Authority areas of Bridgend, Cardiff and the Vale, began investigating Mr Payter after receiving a complaint from the Assay Office, the body responsible for testing and hallmarking precious metals.
The Assay Office had carried out a test purchase from gem2gems, a company operated by Payter and Stefan Hodgson from Newport, that sold jewellery on eBay.
It revealed that an item was not silver as described and did not contain the advertised gem stones.
Further testing by SRS found that other items of jewellery were also misdescribed and that cosmetics being sold were unsafe and possibly infringed trademarks.
After executing a warrant for the home of Payter, SRS officers seized jewellery, cosmetics and £12,845 in cash.
The investigation showed that Payter and Hodgson had been trading for five years and at one point ran a website called gems2gems.co.uk.
They had been buying items such as necklaces, bracelets, bangles and earrings from a website in China without verifying that they were as described.
Counterfeit cufflinks and belts were also identified along with cosmetics that weren’t safe to be used.
Payter, from St Davids Cresent in Penarth and Hodgson, of Park Drive Newport, both plead guilty to 12 offences in total; two under Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations, six under the Hallmarking Act, two under Cosmetic Product Enforcement Regulations and two under the Trademarks Act.
In August 2019 they were sentenced to a total of 20 months in prison, reduced to 14 months for early guilty pleas, suspended for 18 months. The pair also had to pay a victim surcharge of £140 each.
Cllr Eddie Williams, Vale of Glamorgan Council Cabinet Member for Legal, Regulatory and Planning Services, said: “This was a despicable operation that took money from members of the public for items that were not what they purported to be.
“Great work by Shared Regulatory Services has led to this prosecution, which ensures that no more people will fall victim to this company.
“I welcome the significant sum Mr Payter has been told to repay, which reflects the amount of money he made from the operation.
“This case should serve as a warning to others operating illegally within our community. The Council will actively look to protect our residents and will not hesitate to take action if we find people are not operating within the parameters of the law.”