Three members of a gang which organised one of the biggest counterfeiting scams on auction site eBay were sentenced on Friday 12 July to a total of three years in prison.

The gang duped unsuspecting customers with fake golf clubs, accessories and other equipment, in addition to thousands of counterfeit Qantas Lounge invitation cards raking in sales of over $3 million.

The group traded via virtual shops on eBay, and the defendants are the final piece of the puzzle which follows the conviction of seven other members of the same gang in 2009.

The trio, Raymond Crook, Brian Ferrigno and Paul Biggerstaff, were sentenced respectively to 9, 10 and 18 months imprisonment.

The sentences for Crook and Ferrigno were reduced to reflect time spent in Thai prison awaiting extradition, which meant that in Crook’s case he does not have to serve any of his sentence in the UK.

The investigation, codenamed “Augusta”, began after a complaint to Havering Council in 2005 from a member of the public.

The complaint resulted in an investigation which unveiled a world-wide operation with the fake golf equipment at its heart.

Cabinet Member for Public Protection, Councillor Lesley Kelly, said:

“The counterfeit goods trade is the scourge of the global economy, so it was crucial that the Council took the same global approach to smashing this gang.”

“It’s the Council’s duty to protect our local traders and businesses as well as honest residents from those who try to make profit via unscrupulous means.

“Havering Council will not tolerate those who refuse to play by the rules and do the right thing and being on the other side of the world is no barrier when it comes to seeking justice.”