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ebay golfing swindle gang to hear fate

PUBLISHED: 16:41 27 January 2010 | UPDATED: 10:22 12 August 2010

THE sentencing of seven eBay fraudsters who pulled off the auction site s biggest ever swindle by selling fake golf clubs around the world has been put back until March.  Thailand-based mastermind Gary Bellchambers, 46, oversaw a network of sellers, inclu

THE sentencing of seven eBay fraudsters who pulled off the auction site's biggest ever swindle by selling fake golf clubs around the world has been put back until March.

Thailand-based mastermind Gary Bellchambers, 46, oversaw a network of sellers, including his sister Sharon Williams, 48, of The Alders, West Wickham pensioner Roy Cottee, 65, and his wife Kay, 46, from Rainham.

Judge Jacqueline Beech moved the three-day sentencing hearing at Snaresbrook Crown Court to March 1 last Wednesday to allow barristers representing the gang to all be present.

Childminder Helen Wilson, 29, Bellchambers' UK-based bookkeeper Keith Thomas, 49, and jobless Chris Moughton, 56, will also learn their fate in six weeks' time.

An 11-week trial heard how the gang sold millions of pounds worth of bogus equipment to golfers across the globe.

Investigators found virtually every top brand was copied in the 'single largest counterfeiting conspiracy yet uncovered on their website', according to eBay.

Brian Ferrigno, another ex pat, recruited his grandchildren's babysitter Wilson after joining a tour of Thailand by his son-in-law Simon Eden's Herfordshire golfing society 'The Rogues.'

Eden, of The Elms, Hertford, was cleared of conspiracy to sell or distribute goods bearing signs likely to be mistaken for a registered trademark.

Ferrigno and two further Far East-based conspirators Paul Biggerstaff and Raymond Crook - also accused of orchestrating the plot from Pattaya, Thailand - continue to elude justice.

However, Williams, Wilson, from Hertford, and the Cottees, from Rainham, were all convicted by the jury while Bellchambers and Thomas, both from Rainham, and Moughton, from Blackpool, all confessed their guilt before the trial.

Mr Davis told jurors: "Over the course of approximately four years, between mid-2003 and early 2008, these defendants and their co-conspirators have been responsible for the sale and distribution of hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of pounds worth of counterfeit goods both here in the UK and abroad.

"This was primarily through the well-known auction website eBay. This is a conspiracy of a truly global nature."

Jurors heard conspirators were based in the UK, Europe, Asia and the US while golfers were duped across five continents.

kate.nelson@archant.co.uk

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