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Two mums from the Ingham and Saxilby villages near Lincoln earned thousands of pounds from selling fake designer clothes and watches, a court heard. Sally Turzanski, 29, and Rebekah Groves, 30, set up a Facebook group to market their items with customers paying by cash. The group grew to over 15,000 members and the volume of cash coming in was so much that at one point Groves texted her friend saying “RICH RICH RICH!!!”
The pair earned at least GBP20,000 each from the enterprise before they were raided by Trading Standards officers who discovered counterfeit designer items at their homes.
Lincoln Crown Court heard that fake items found during raids on the homes of Turzanski and Groves included Chanel shoes, Rolex watches, Ralph Lauren polo shirts and vests, Adidas trainers and T-shirts, Nike trainers and T-shirts and a Louis Vuitton baseball cap. The court was told that most customers would have known they were buying fake items because of the prices they paid. Alison Lambert, prosecuting, said: “The defendants were managing the Facebook group.
They were purchasing goods, arranging orders and delivery.” She said investigations into the enterprise began in early 2019 and Turzanski’s then home was searched, but no counterfeit goods were found. Two months later Trading Standards discovered the group had been re-established with Turzanski and Groves being two of the three administrators, and the investigation resumed.
Raids were carried out in December 2019 on the homes of both women. A large amount of cash and 103 counterfeit items were found at Groves’ home.
12 counterfeit items were found at the home of Turzanski. Miss Lambert said the investigation revealed that the two women initially ran the enterprise with a man, but fell out with him over the financial arrangement and by the end of November 2018 they had set up on their own.
The 1,400 text messages between the two of them found on Groves’ mobile phone included one in which she wrote “RICH RICH RICH!!!” and another when she wrote “We’ll be in the shit if we get found out”. The court was told that neither of the defendants had any previous convictions. Sunil Khanna, for Turzanski, said she was introduced to a man who told her he would show her how to make money.
Initially she thought that ex-warehouse goods were involved only to discover they were fakes. “At the time she had problems with her personal life. She was on benefits with two children.
“They thought that what they were doing was not bad. The customers pretty much knew what they were getting given the prices.” Tom Heath, for Groves, said she was in a vulnerable position and suffers from anxiety and depression.
“She was trying to support three children on her own while in receipt of benefits. There was a shortfall and she was struggling to make ends meet. “She has demonstrated remorse.
She is desperately afraid of going to prison.” Sally Turzanski, 29, of The Green, Ingham, and Rebekah Groves, 30, of The Sidings, Saxilby, each admitted two charges of possession of criminal property and eight charges of possession of goods with false trademarks for sale. They were each given a 12 month jail sentence suspended for two years with a three month electronically monitored night-time curfew.
A total of GBP3,954 was ordered to be forfeited and each was ordered to pay GBP200 towards prosecution costs.
Recorder William Harbage QC told them: “This was a systematic operation and although you may have been introduced to this by a third party it is absolutely clear that you picked it up and ran with it and when you were not happy with the terms and conditions of the other person you set up on your own and traded in counterfeit goods yourselves.
“Based on the banking figures you gained over GBP20,000 each as a bare minimum.”
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