A man who ran an illegal DVD business from his home, saw his criminal empire come tumbling down when magistrates handed him a huge fine of more than £7,500 as well as a 6 month suspended prison sentence and 100 hours community service.
Sonu Gupta, 30 from Borehamwood raked in profits of more than £23,000 from the sale of dodgy DVD boxsets, including global hits Breaking Bad, True Detective, The Walking Dead, and Game of Thrones.
In an attempt to cover his tracks, Gupta even dragged his own father into his criminal enterprise, by laundering profits through his bank account.
The net first began to close on Gupta when Brent and Harrow Trading Standards officers bought a knock-off Breaking Bad boxset from his Gumtree account. In a scene that could have come from one of the hit TV shows he pedalled, officers went undercover to meet Gupta in a car park, where he handed over the illegal discs. That was all they needed to sanction a raid on the pirate's home, where they found a further 99 DVD boxsets ready to be despatched to unsuspecting consumers.
Cllr Graham Henson, portfolio holder for environment, crime and community safety:
"Mr Gupta thought he was above the law, but the law caught up with him and it wasn't a happy ending. Not only did he run a sham business selling dodgy DVDs, but he tried to hide his illegal profits. And for this criminal venture he received a hefty fine thanks to the detective work of our trading standards officers
"We take this type of crime seriously and will always take the necessary actions need to fine and prosecute those who think they can operate like this."
After pleading guilty, Gupta was charged and sentenced at Harrow Crown Court on 8 November. Among his eight offences were contravention of trademark law and money laundering.
Cllr Tom Miller, Brent Council Cabinet Member for Stronger Communities, said:
"The prosecution of Mr Gupta shows how seriously councils across West London take this kind of criminal activity.
"Crimes like these are not restricted to a single area. That's why Brent Council continues to work closely with our neighbouring boroughs and local police to ensure those responsible are brought to justice.
"This is one of a number of prosecutions that Trading Standards officers have secured in recent months; an important part of our zero-tolerance approach to criminal activity across the borough."
The Judge also made a confiscation order of £15,809.95. Mr Gupta has 3 months to pay the total. Mr Gupta was ordered to pay the full costs of £7,621.20 within 3 months.
Consumers thinking of purchasing DVDs is should only buy from legitimate, trusted retailers. If you are shopping online, thoroughly check reviews or feedback about the seller. Remember, if it seems too cheap to be true, avoid it - it is highly likely that you're buying a pirate copy.