A SHOPKEEPER who made half a million pounds from selling dodgy cigarettes from his Gloucester shop, will have to pay back just £500.45.
Daoud Karem, the owner of the Polski Sklep shop on Barton Street, made £500,000 selling counterfeit cigarettes and tobacco under the counter.
But the 31-year-old has just assets of £500.45 which can be confiscated under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Karem, of Vauxhall Terrace, admitted selling the fake-labelled cigarettes, which did not have an the appropriate health warning, the store in August last year.
Investigators uncovered 259 packs of illegal cigarettes and 100 pouches of tobacco hidden in a false till partition.
Another search of the premises in June resulted in further seizures.
Gloucester Crown Court heard that if the cigarettes seized were sold legitimately, they would have made £3,500, meaning Karem made a profit of £1,400. The state lost a total of £1,900 from those sales.
Two weeks ago the Iraqi was given a 24-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months and ordered to carry out 150 hours unpaid work.
Yesterday, he was told he has 28 days to pay the £500.45 to the court and if he fails to do so, he will have to spend 28 days in jail.
Gloucestershire County Council’s Trading Standards team brought the prosecution against him.
Spokeswoman Charlotte Merrfyfield said: “Due to the nature of the offences for which he was convicted, Daoud Salih Karem was deemed to live a criminal lifestyle. As a result, his finances over the past six years could be investigated.
“It was estimated that Daoud Salih Karem made £500,000 from his crimes and this was agreed in court yesterday.”
Karem’s prosecution is just one of a series from Trading Standards following stings.
Eddie Coventry, head of Trading Standards, said: “These cases show officers will continue to be vigilant in helping bring those people who engage in this illegal trade to justice.
“The deliberate and dishonest concealment of contraband items is a serious issue.
“We want to reassure legitimate traders we are doing everything we can to put a stop to this illegal and damaging activity.”