Fake goods dealer told to pay up or go back to jail

Lily Lee ' had 'hidden assets' which she failed to declare
Lily Lee ' had 'hidden assets' which she failed to declare

A COUNTERFEIT goods dealer from Sheffield has failed to pay back a penny of the £2.75m she made from her crimes.

Now Lily Lee, who operated from premises in Upperthorpe, must pay back an additional £800,000 in 28 days or go back to prison for five years.

Lee, aged 45, was jailed in 2008 for four years nine months after she was found guilty of a sophisticated scam which saw her smuggling millions of pounds’ worth of fake goods from China into the UK and selling them on internet auction sites.

The former director of furniture import company Wang Lee Ltd was caught after police working with Trading Standards and HM Revenue and Customs officers noticed large amounts of fake goods being sold on eBay.

Their investigations led them to Upperthorpe, where officers found millions of pounds’ worth of fake branded goods including Nike, Dolce & Gabbana, Louis Vuitton, Levi-Strauss, Armani, G-Star and Evisu.

Four shipping containers with hundreds of items bound for Sheffield were also intercepted by customs in Felixstowe.

Lee, of Moorthorpe Rise, Owlthorpe, admitted conspiracy to sell goods to which a false trademark had been applied and was jailed.

Confiscation proceedings to seize her assets began in 2008 when a judge found she had benefited from her crimes to the tune of £2.75m.

She was told to pay the cash back to the authorities within six months or go to prison for another ten years but she is yet to make a payment.

Action against her has been delayed, pending the sale of the premises in Upperthorpe, for which planning permission is required, to maximise the proceeds of the sale.

But last week Lee was back in court after police discovered she had “hidden assets” which she had failed to declare.

They included cash in bank accounts in China which she claimed she was unable to access and the proceeds of her gambling habit.

Det Con Adrian Ward, of South Yorkshire Police’s Economic Crime Unit, said: “What she has done over the period since she was released from prison is gamble £40,000.

“She told the court she didn’t have the funds to pay back the money but the court has found she has hidden assets.

“She must pay back £800,000 in 28 days or she will go to jail for five years.”

Another Proceeds of Crime Act hearing has been scheduled for August when the court will decide whether or not to give Lee further time to pay back the £2.75m – the largest confiscation order ever made in South Yorkshire.

DS Ward said: “This has been a protracted case but we will stick to our mettle. If there are criminal assets to be recovered from people we will ensure that we seize their assets, however long it takes.”