Fraudster avoids jail term

A FRAUDSTER, who made thousands of pounds profit selling fake computer disks over the internet, is today a free woman after she was spared jail.

A FRAUDSTER, who made thousands of pounds profit selling fake computer disks over the internet, is today a free woman after she was spared jail.

Valerie Lindsey, 58, was left crying with relief after she escaped a spell in prison and was instead ordered to do unpaid work in the community after pleading guilty to 24 counts of infringing copyright laws and applying false trademarks.

South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court heard yesterday how Lindsey, of Nacton Road, Felixstowe, ignored copyright laws and offered counterfeit computer software packages at cheap prices through her dodgy internet business.

Trading standards officers made three attempts to make test purchases from Lindsey's eBay site on August 22, 2007.

The same day officers seized 873 fake disks from her home, items which would have had a genuine retail value of around £694,000.

Lindsey told officers she had sold about 100 counterfeit disks each month for two years and believed the buyers knew the items were fake.

Most Read

Every disk sold for an average of £20 but would have cost buyers between £800 and £900 if bought legitimately.

Michael Stephenson, mitigating for Lindsey, said: “She came to a point that she realised what she was doing was wrong. She has thought about the consequences for software companies.

“She is a lady with problems. In this she found herself a way of making money and also an activity for a very active brain. It became almost like compulsive behaviour.”

Mr Stephenson said the profit Lindsey had made was in the region of £13,000 and not the £32,000 trading standards alleged she would have made over two years.

District Judge David Cooper said Lindsey had been through a lot with the death of her son some years ago and the breakdown of her own business.

He said to her: “You showed a high degree of ingenuity and application in a rather dishonest enterprise.

“You have struggled to get on your own two feet. Instead of getting on the dole, you decided to start this enterprise. I can see no point in sentencing a woman like you to prison. You are able to do work in the community.”

He gave her a 12-week prison sentence for each offence to run concurrently but suspended it for a year. She was ordered to do 100 hours of unpaid work and had to pay £100 costs.

Do you think more should be done to prevent fraud on the internet? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter