THE Lord Advocate has warned that fraudsters looking to cash in on the Commonwealth Games through ticket touting or selling counterfeit goods will be hit with a “range of powerful laws” which could see them sent to prison.
Frank Mulholland QC urged prosecutors to use their powers to protect the interests of legitimate businesses.
He said that anyone looking to sell items under the Commonwealth Games banner – or those trying to sell tickets illegally – could be given custodial sentences of up to five years.
Mr Mulholland said: “Legitimate businesses in Scotland and their staff who have worked hard to make the games a success rightly stand to reap huge benefits.
“Anyone who thinks they can make an easy fast buck from the Games by committing fraud, whether it is ticket touting or counterfeiting, should be aware that prosecutors have a range of powerful laws to ensure that can’t happen.”
Mr Mulholland added: “Anyone who attempts to disrupt the Games by operating con schemes or committing public disorder crimes should also be aware that the lowest level they will be prosecuted at is the Sheriff Court, where they could face sentences of up to five years in jail and an unlimited fine.”
He also revealed those found guilty of crimes such as counterfeiting and ticket-touting can also be prosecuted using proceeds of crime legislation because they are deemed to be “lifestyle offences”.
“Where such crimes were once seen as easy money for fraudsters they now face having to sell their homes, cars and jewellery to pay a confiscation order, or their homes and other assets linked to crime can be recovered and sold under proceeds of crime legislation.
“Scotland is leading the way in using this law to outsmart criminals, destroying their lifestyles and dismantling their networks,” he said.
The move to protect businesses from fraud during the games has been welcomed by the Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC).
SBRC director Mandy Haeburn-Little said: “I very much welcome this announcement by the Lord Advocate.
“Scotland is working really hard to make counterfeit and illicit goods unacceptable – these items have no place in a community where we all want to see responsible shops, suppliers and traders flourish.”
Weekend reports say around 43 per cent of tickets sold have gone to fans outside Scotland, with around 600,000 tourists set to descend on Glasgow for the Games, which start on 23 July.