Rogue Internet high tech trader found guilty in U.K.

Michael Reeder, the man known as the Internet rogue trader, will be facing jail time and fines. The 35-year-old Portsmouth, England native was convicted yesterday in a British court for offences under the Trade Marks Act after a string of online sale of counterfeit products mostly from Monster Inc.

At trial, Reeder denied the 13 offences but was found guilty of all counts. He is scheduled to be sentenced at Portsmouth Crown Court on April 19. The court is also look into confiscating any money Reeder may have received from the illegal activities.

Reeder’s activities were part of the  largest seizure ever of counterfeit Monster products in the U.K. during a February 2011 raid. The raid found more than 2,000 items. Reeder’s arrest came as the direct result of Monster’s close cooperation with the U.K.’s Trading Standards Service (TSS) in what Monster is calling “an exclusive alliance to fight illegal counterfeiting”.

According to Monster, after receiving several consumer emails with complaints about Reeder’s “Odds and Pods” Web site in 2010, the company initiated an investigation with help from private investigative firm C3i Europe, Ltd. Once the original investigation had developed enough evidence, Monster engaged with the U.K. TSS and handed the case over to them to carry into the Court for prosecution.

Besides the phony Monster products, the raid found other counterfeit items from Speck, a California-based manufacturer of smartphone cases, Sennheiser, a headphones vendors, Apple, Sony, and Nintendo.

Monster also said that Reeder was already subject to a court enforcement order taken out by the council in 2009, imposed when he failed to supply purchases on time and give refunds. Leading up to the 2011 raid, customers of Reeder’s complained to the U.K. TSS and to Monster, with specific complaints about headphones bought from Reeder’s Odds and Pods website. Customers noticed minor packaging discrepancies, and faults such as buzzing and poor quality sound.

In August 2011 Reeder told TSS officers he had stopped trading, but a customs seizure of counterfeit Monster products at East Midlands Airport produced another lead. Officers discovered Reeder was still operating his illegal operation, with a new Web site called Nice Cans. Additional raids in September 2011 resulted in seizure of more than 1,500 items, including fake Monster, Sennheiser and Sony headphones, plus counterfeit Speck iPhone cases, PlayStation controllers and Wii accessories. Evidence showed that Reeder imported the products through a contact in China, who was not an authorized supplier.

David Tognotti, Monster’s GM & Vice President of Operations, said everyone at Monster is gratified that this long and complex investigation has finally reached such a favourable conclusion. The sale of counterfeit products literally hurts everyone, including manufacturers and retailers, but most especially honest consumers who might have no idea that the goods they purchase are not genuine. It’s a serious crime.

Camilla Herron, Monster’s global brand protection manager, who was at the trial, said said it was a privilege to see British justice in action. “People who peddle fake goods are a worldwide problem; damaging business reputations, funding the black economy and undercutting legitimate traders who play by the rules.”

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