eBay fraudsters jailed in fake club scam

The ringleader at the centre of a fake golf club scam has been jailed for four years and three months.

Gary Bellchambers was sentenced along with six others at an east London court for selling millions of pounds worth of counterfeit clubs and other fake golf merchandise through eBay between June 2003 and March 2008.

Bellchambers alone had organised the delivery of more than six tons of golf equipment into the United Kingdom from Asia and was only caught out when a customer complained to Havering council trading standards when she tried to get a refund for a faulty club.

Council officers searched the homes of the conspirators and seized computers, thousands of golf clubs and carried out a further investigation which discovered around £2million had been received by the fraudsters over the five-year period.

It also found that Bellchambers and co-accused Roy and Kay Cottee had been involved in selling more than 4,000 fake Quantas airport lounge passes, which gave entry to business class lounges at airports across the world.

The number of people involved grew as the gang leaders recruited individuals who allowed their eBay accounts or their names and addresses to be used, leading to the seven arrests.

Bill Adams, Havering Council principle trading standards officer, said: "We are pleased that this gang have got what they deserved. They made millions of pounds from their operation, selling tens of thousands of fake clubs to people all over the world. Each customer was ripped off by up to £100 per club.

"I've been an investigator for 35 years and never heard of such a massive counterfeiting operation - it was of a scale that has never been seen before."

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