Ex-snooker star jailed for part in international fake Viagra scheme

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A former professional snooker player has been jailed for his part in an international fake Viagra operation.

After pleading guilty, James Michie, 44, had claimed his refusal to throw a match in the Far East led him to become involved in the scam as a debt to his contacts in the region.

Michie, of Millers Croft, Ackworth, near Pontefract, was sentenced to 40 months for importing fake and unlicensed erectile dysfunction medicine and contravening trademark laws, money laundering and handling stolen goods.

Judge Penelope Belcher also handed Mark Parkinson, 45, of Estcourt Road, Darrington, a 34-month sentence and Anthony Cunningham, 48, of Minden Way, Pontefract, a 12-month community order for their roles in two separate operations.

Between December 2008 and April 2010 Michie partnered up with his friend Parkinson and used contacts in China, Hong Kong and India to bring in the medicines.

The drugs were sent to addresses using the names of people who did not live at the homes. But Michie made an arrangement with two Parcelforce delivery men whereby, instead of them taking the packages to the homes, they were handed to Michie and Parkinson for a fee.

After authorities intercepted packages, records and phone logs revealed sales and contacts linked to where some of the parcels originated.

Sentencing the defendants, Judge Belcher said: “You James Michie and Mark Parkinson were known to each other through snooker and one way or another had contacts in the Far East who were willing to supply medical products on a wholesale basis.”

She added: “Between you, you devised a method of importing the goods and intended to evade the authorities.”

PIC: Simon Hulme

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