BIRMINGHAM: A 43-year old man Mubashir Khan, who was passing off used stamps as new and selling them on eBay, was found to have 60 kilos of stamps at his home when it was searched by police. He was caught because he started using the stamps on his own post – alerting Royal Mail staff.
M ubashir Khan, 43, of Sandway Grove, Billesley, had previously admitted a charge of supplying articles for fraud, the Birmigham Mail has reported.
Ben Gow, prosecuting at Birmingham Crown Court, said: “He was purchasing used stamps and he then adapted them so they would pass off as unused. “He then sold to purchasers, primarily on E Bay between October 2016 and October 2018.”
The defendant, he said, would buy first and second class stamps in bulk from charities or other organisations. “He subjected them to a chemical process removing cancellation markings. He removed the glue from the back and dried them, effectively restoring them as close as possible to an unused state.
“He sold them on eBay at a significant discount, up to 50 per cent of their face value. Nevertheless that represented a significant profit to himself.” However Mr Gow said Khan “gave himself away” in a number of ways including using the washed stamps on his own parcels. Also some of the stamps “looked pale.”
Over the two year period he sold stamps with a face value of £241,000 and received £114,000. The fraud came to light after investigating officers from the Royal Mail made searches on eBay and then test purchases. Their investigation revealed that there were a number of repeat customers including one who had made 56 orders.
Khan was arrested on October 30 last year and when his address was searched, as well as the large quantity of stamps, officers discovered a large amount of chemicals and stamps in the process of being washed.
In passing sentence Judge Paul Farrer QC, said that Khan had sold stamps on eBay on 3,000 occasions and that he had “acquired the expertise and equipment to wash them.”
He went on “I conclude this was a planned enterprise. It was designed and indeed did yield substantial sums. It caused very significant losses to Royal Mail and there was some element of sophistication.”