December 8 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
A man who sold fake autographs of celebrities including Doctor Who actor David Tennant, duping fans out of about £35,000, has been warned he could face jail.
Andrew Sullivan, 50, sold the signed photos of celebrities on eBay claiming the items were genuine memorabilia, when in fact they were fake, Norwich Crown Court heard.
Sullivan, of Heath Road, Lyng, was caught following a joint investigation led by Norfolk Trading Standards.
He was found to have 19 photos of the actor David Tennant, each bearing a false signature, and six certificates of authenticity, falsely claiming to authenticate six of the autographs by the actor.
Also found in Sullivan’s possession were two fake autographed photos of actress Billie Piper and a fake signed photo of actress Karen Gillan.
He also admitted advertising for sale on eBay a signed photograph of Bond actress Caroline Munroe, stating that the signature on the photo was genuine, when it was also false.
An investigation is understood to have been launched after a member of the public contacted Norfolk trading standards as Sullivan was selling some of the fake signatures at a cut price.
There was also an investigation by the BBC because of an infringement of BBC copyright.
Sullivan admitted a string of fraud charges including possession of an article for use in fraud and participating in a fraudulent business between November 1, 2009, and November 6, 2011, by knowingly carrying on an internet business for a fraudulent purpose, namely by retailing forged and unauthorised celebrity memorabilia.
He also admitted infringing the copyright of the BBC by selling photographs of David Tennant and Karen Gillan.
David Wilson, prosecuting, said that it was estimated that Sullivan netted about £35,000 and a confiscation hearing was adjourned to a later date to see if any of the money he took from customers could be reclaimed.
His barrister, Ian James, asked for a report on Sullivan and said he was a man of previous good character. “He is very aware of the seriousness of his predicament,” he said.
Recorder Andrew Muller adjourned sentence until October 14 for reports but warned Sullivan: “You know that usually a custodial sentence is what follows.”