A “thoroughly dishonest” Porth man who sold fake computer software and financial services via the internet has been prosecuted by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council in an important case.
Trading Standards officers working to protect consumers and the wider public stepped in after receiving complaints about counterfeit software – namely Adobe and Rosetta Stone Language courses – Daniel John Gurner, of Aberrhondda Road, was selling via Gumtree.
Gurner first came to the attention of Trading Standards officers when a complaint was made from someone who had purchased what they believed to be counterfeit Adobe software from him via the online selling community. A further complaint was then received regarding fake Rosetta Stone language courses that were also sold online.
As a result, a test purchase was made in which Adobe software was brought from Gurner and then sent off to independent experts who confirmed it was fake.
As a result, a search warrant was executed at his home, leading to the seizure of paperwork and fake Adobe software. During the search, officers also secured information that led to the identification of a third person who had also been scammed by Gurner.
The search also uncovered evidence of a credit repair service that Gurner was operating via Ebay, in which he claimed to be able to remove CCJs from a person’s credit file.
Gurner had actually taken money from a consumer to secure a loan, but the finances were never provided and the £230 handed over was never returned. In addition to this, Gurner failed to hold the necessary licenses, required under the 1974 Credit Act, to operate as a credit provider.
Gurner was charged with three offences under the Trade Marks Act 1994, in relation to the fake software he had sold and a further offence under the 1974 Credit Act for failing to hold a license.
The court was told there was no evidence to suggest Gurner considered the products to be illegitimate. He said he bought some of the items from free ads, where they were offered as unwanted gifts, and sold them on. He said he realises the stupidity if his actions and wanted to put the issues behind him as he has two young children and wants to set them a good example and change his life.
He was sentenced at Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court on February 12 and received a nine month prison sentence, which was suspended for two years and ordered to pay compensation to all three victims, as well as £2,000 towards cost. In addition, he was also ordered to attend a training programme with Probation and all software and other items seized in the warrant will be forfeited.
During sentencing, he was told by the court he was a thoroughly dishonest individual and came very close to receiving an immediate custodial sentence. He knew the software was counterfeit after the first complaint but chose to continue to sell it and not refund.
If you are a trader or seller and need more information about how to protect yourself, or are a consumer who needs advice, find out more on the Trading Standards pages