- Biggest Ever eBay Fraud Selling Fake Golf Balls and Clubs
- December 15, 2009 | 0 Responses
Gary Bellchambers, aged 48 from Essex lived a double life. In Essex he lived in a council house and owned an old battered Ford Escort, in Pattaya in Thailand he lived a lavish lifestyle owning several mansions, a yacht worth Â£1.5million and was a member of all the luxurious clubs. Gary made his fortune by selling counterfeit golf clubs and golf balls. Some of these golf balls even exploded when they were hit. The biggest scam known to date on eBay was finally uncovered when a women complained to trading standard officers. In the past when unhappy customers approached Gary Bellchambers he gave them a refund therefore avoiding an investigation. However, on this occasion is was living it up in Thailand.
The scam involved the sale of fake golf clubs – TaylorMade, Odyssey and Callaway which were in fact made in China. They cost a minimal Â£3 to make but as they were sold as the ‘real deal’ they retailed for over Â£100 each. Prosecutor on the case said “Over the course of about 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 and abroad – primarily through the well-known auction website eBay. There is a conspiracy of a truly global nature. Conspirators are thought to have been based in the UK, Thailand, Australia, Germany, Singapore, USA, Hong Kong and China and goods have been distributed from, or to, all of those countries and more.”
It is thought that Gary Bellchambers was assisted by friends and family in the scam, allowing Gary to set up eBay accounts with their details and account details. In one 24 hour period in November 2006, Â£73,000 was transferred between accounts. Bellchamber managed to purchase at least ten houses in Thailand, a share in a yacht, a floating restaurant in Australia and shares in 20 British Blue chip firms. When Christine Manz complained about two golf clubs to the trading standards agency, they launched an investigation called ‘Operation Augusta’ after the US golf club which hosts the Masters. They built up a case against the gang and eventually unravelled the spiders web of confusion that the gang had created. The sentencing of the guilty fraudsters will take place on 25th January 2010.
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Source: www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1235839/Conman-dubbed-The-Man-millions-biggest-eBay-fraud-exploding-golf-balls-fake-clubs.html, 15th December 2009