A fan of The Clash has helped expose a man who made £1.2million from fake vinyl records.
Richard Hutter had been selling counterfeit records over a six-year period and was given a suspended jail sentence at Bournemouth crown court earlier this week.
He was caught out after a Clash fan demanded his money back because of the poor sound quality on the record he had bought online.
When the refund was refused the customer complained to trading standards officers, who then bought two sample records from Hutter’s website, Guns N’ Roses‘ ‘Appetite For Destruction’ and ‘Songs For The Deaf’ by Queens Of The Stone Age. Both turned out to be fake.
Hutter’s home address was searched in July 2018 as a result, with officers seizing his phone and laptop, as well as a number of counterfeit records and sleeves, according to The Guardian.
In addition to selling the vinyls on his website, it was discovered that he had also been selling them through a US website and eBay.
On eBay, he had listed almost 1,200 LPs in the space of one year and he charged customers up to £35 for the counterfeit albums.
When questioned, Hutter denied knowing they were counterfeit records and said he had sourced them from Europe and sold them on. He pleaded guilty to 13 counts of selling counterfeit records and one count under the Proceeds of Crime Act (2002).
He was sentenced at Bournemouth crown court and was given a four-month prison sentence, suspended for 24 months. A £373,000 confiscation order was also made.
Recorder Richard Tutt said he was unable to impose the standard five-year prison sentence for a money laundering offence as magistrates had made an error with the process of sending the case to crown court.
Meanwhile, Joe Strummer’s widow, Lucinda Tait, recently revealed that the late punk legend hoped to reform The Clash for a performance in 2003, just months before his unexpected death.