A MUSIC collector ripped off fellow pop fans by selling them fake vinyl versions of classic albums through auction website eBay.
Frank Macari conned his online customers by offering counterfeit copies of million-selling records by acts including Amy Winehouse, The Stone Roses and Pink Floyd.
Macari picked up the fakes at record fairs in Holland before returning home and listing them as mint condition originals on his eBay page.
The 43-year-old financial worker was caught with around 180 counterfeit albums after a sting by the British Phonograph Institute (BPI).
BPI investigators, who scour online sites for illegitimate dealings, had rumbled Macari’s scam and bought some of his merchandise to gather evidence before he was arrested.
Among the haul of dodgy vinyl recovered were 77 Beatles albums, 15 by rockers Iron Maiden and ten by US grunge band Nirvana. Also discovered were illegal recordings by Motorhead, Guns ‘n’ Roses, and Rage Against the Machine.
Macari pleaded guilty at Haddington Sheriff Court on Monday to distributing vinyl discs from his home in Port Seton, East Lothian, which he knew were infringing copyright, between December 18, 2012 and March 12 last year.
Procurator fiscal depute Brent Bissett told the court Macari travelled to the Dutch city of Utrecht to purchase the “very poor quality” discs from music sellers at record fairs.
Macari paid £1300 for a consignment of fakes and, according to a BPI expert, he would stand to make around £6000 from their sale.
Mr Bissett said: “One of the discs was examined, a Led Zeppelin vinyl record, and the colour of the disc was yellow and the original disc was never pressed in yellow. There was no bar code on the back cover and the item was described as being in mint condition which would suggest it must be a recorded company sanctioned re-pressing.
“The condition of the record is very poor and the artwork is described as being scanned from a shop-bought album.”
Mr Bissett added that forensic accountants are investigating Macari’s bank accounts to determine whether any of his finances should be confiscated.
Solicitor Angela Craig said her client was a long-standing music fan, with an interest in music from the 80s and 90s, who had collected and sold records for more than 20 years.
She said Macari had paid e500 for a collection of records on his first visit to the Dutch fair and later returned for a second time after the “first batch sold well”. He then paid £1300 for a second consignment of fakes.
Ms Craig admitted her client “had suspicions things might not be right” when he was buying the records.
Sheriff Peter Braid deferred sentence for Macari to be of good behaviour.