A CONMAN who is thought to have made nearly £1million selling potentially lethal laptop chargers has been jailed.
John Evans made more than £190,000 a year selling the faulty equipment online and through his Rayners Lane-based shop, PC Laptop Garage.
The chargers, which were found to pose a risk of electro-cution and in some cases were held together with masking tape, were shipped in from China for £4 each and sold on for £40.
Computer evidence found by undercover officers at Brent and Harrow trading standards suggested the 59-year-old, from Laughton Road, Northolt, had begun dealing in laptop chargers in 2004.
Harrow Crown Court heard how he had learned computer skills while in jail for other offences.
They seized about 740 suspected bogus chargers purporting to be from companies including Sony, Samsung, Toshiba, Dell, and Hewlett Packard from his shop in Warden Avenue and a storage unit in Ruislip.
During questioning, Evans said he thought the laptop chargers were cheap, either because they came from China or possibly because they might have been stolen.
He was taken to court after being charged with one offence under the Consumer Protection Act and 10 offences under the Trade Marks Act.
Last Friday he admitted all charges at Harrow Crown Court and was sentenced to eight months in prison.
After sentencing, Councillor Susan Hall, deputy leader of Harrow Council, said: "This man ran a sophisticated and highly profitable import business which passed off fakes as branded goods, making a 900 per cent mark-up in the bargain.
"However, some computer users who bought these goods were, in fact, playing a game of
Russian roulette every time they plugged into the mains.
"This jail term should prove a nasty shock to anyone who thinks they can exploit Harrow residents for easy money."
Brent and Harrow councils have now begun a proceeds of crime investigation with a view to confiscating money and other assets made by Evans in the past six years.