Fraudster given stiff prison sentence for selling fake male impotence drugs
7th October 2014
viagraA notorious serial conman involved in the selling of fake and dangerous viagra knock-offs has found out the hard way that crime doesn’t pay after being jailed for 10 years. Fraudster Martin Hickman, 54, of Lily Lanes, Ashton-under-Lyne, flogged counterfeit viagra, slimming pills, and other dangerous drugs via the internet, duping unsuspecting customers into parting with their cash for cheap, dangerous products sourced from India. His illegal dealings had led to Hickman enjoying a lavish lifestyle being able to afford several luxury apartments, a huge detached four-bedroom farmhouse, property in Marbella, and dove a Range Rover and a Bentley. Investigators from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) found his business also sold sex toys and products claiming to boost penis size, and officers subsequently swooped onto his farmhouse in Ashton-under-Lyne, Greater Manchester. They discovered Hickman had money stored in bank accounts in Malta, the Cayman Islands and the Isle of Man, transferring money through each of his accounts in addition to a local bank in the UK in an attempt to launder it. Despite being under the MHRA’s radar, Hickman ignored this and carried on running the website, MSH World Traders. He even moved his offices and took on more staff. Then in May 2007, Hickman received a three month prison sentence and hit with a £20,000 fine for breaching a High Court order that had ordered him to immediately stop selling drugs, including the counterfeit viagra, and shutdown the website. Unfortunately, this warning did not deter the greedy crook and a newspaper later uncovered evidence that his enterprise MSH World Traders was still active and raking in the money, despite the fact Hickman was locked up. Then in 2009, further investigations into his business dealings brought him back to the courts, where he admitted his guilt to five counts of money laundering and supplying fake and unlicensed drugs. He was again jailed, but this time for two years. A proceeds of crime hearing was conducted at Southwark Crown Court in April 2012 and found Hickman had raked in over £15.4 million from his illicit dealings. Therefore, the court demanded he pay back £14.4 million within six months, or be jailed for ten years. However, the conman fled to Spain whilst still owing £13.9 million and a European Arrest warrant was issued for his arrest in March of this year after numerous tipoffs to his whereabouts, including one letter sent to a newspaper that claimed Hickman was “living it up in Marbella nightclubs and bordellos non-stop” with “British taxpayers’ money”. He was finally arrested in Spain in July, extradited back to the UK in August and must now face the prospect of the next decade of his life behind bars, whilst the massive debt must still be paid. Nick Price, Head of Crown Prosecution Service Proceeds of Crime said: “Martin Hickman’s crimes were unscrupulous and greedy, putting people’s health at risk for the sake of pure profit. Having failed to pay his debt, he has now begun a ten year sentence behind bars. “Mr Hickman’s arrest, extradition from Spain and subsequent imprisonment back in the UK should send out a clear message to criminals seeking to hide themselves and their assets abroad: if you won’t pay up, we will find you and you will go to jail. “We would like to thank Titan, the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit and International law enforcement colleagues for their tireless work on this case.”