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Home arrow Forgery News arrow Conman who flogged fake autographs at Chester shop hit with £117,000 bill

Conman who flogged fake autographs at Chester shop hit with £117,000 bill Print E-mail
Written by Chester Chronicle   
Thursday, 17 December 2009

Conman who flogged fake autographs at Chester shop hit with £117,000 bill

A FRAUDSTER who sold fake autographs to sports fans has been ordered to pay back more than £100,000 – or face jail.

Graeme Walker, 47, of Connah's Quay, appeared in Chester Crown Court on Friday to be told he needed to return £117,828.24 of illicit gains made when he ran the Sporting Icons shop on Watergate Row, Chester.

The massive bill is in stark contrast to what co-accused, supplier Faisal Madani, 43, was asked to pay. Because he had no recorded assets, the court accepted a nominal payment of £1 in October.

Barristers arrived at the sum by calculating 20% of the company's turnover and agreeing on the closest possible payable figure, taking into account Walker's assets.

Prosecutor Andrew Thomas said: “The crown accepted Mr Walker had a separate legitimate source of business, an electrical contracting business.

“Mr Walker has three remaining assets: his interest in his house in Connah's Quay, an interest in Faisal Madani's house and a pension.”

A total of £10,087.74 will come out of the pension and the first payments, of some £3,742.50, will be paid as compensation to the people he ripped off with counterfeit goods.

If Walker has not paid the money by June 9, 2010, he could face a maximum of two years in prison.

Many Liverpool supporters were cheated after unwittingly buying forgeries of items in the wake of the Reds’ 2005 Champions League triumph.

Among the autographs faked were those of Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher and former striker Michael Owen.

Other autographs forged in the deception included England rugby player Jonny Wilkinson, David Beckham, and Sir Alex Ferguson.

Prosecutors called Madani and Walker’s scam “an outrageous fraud in both scale and audacity.”

Friday's Proceeds of Crime Act hearing brought to a close a case which has dragged on for three and a half years.

Closing proceedings, Judge David Hale expressed his relief: “So brings this to an end!” he said.

Walker had been jailed for 30 months and Madani for nine months in April 2008 following the elaborate scam and Walker and his company secretary wife were banned from working in the trade ever again.

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