The case of the bad bag ladies

How a knockoff handbag ring busted itself.


Katharine Mieszkowski
November 4, 2005 11:15PM (UTC)

Here's one for the dumb-criminals file: The Boston Globe reports that three sisters in Massachusetts -- and one of their boyfriends -- were running a knockoff bag ring, selling fake Gucci, Kate Spade and Louis Vuitton handbags and wallets for $40 a pop.

The enterprising twentysomethings sold the fake designer goods at flea markets and suburban "purse parties," where the hostess would reportedly get a free bag of her choice. The counterfeiters threw more than 200 of these parties over the course of 16 months, and the sales were pouring in, until a thief broke into one of their storage units, stealing 75 bags, worth approximately $1,500.

Advertisement:

Here's where it gets dumb: One of the sisters reported the theft to the police. Then, the alleged thief counterattacked, tipping off the authorities that the young purse peddlers were running a vast counterfeit ring out of their storage unit.

A subsequent state police raid netted 46,000 handbags and wallets from the fakers' stash, an estimated $1.4 million worth of phony merchandise. Thursday, the three sisters and the boyfriend were charged with money laundering and trafficking in counterfeit goods in a federal indictment. The feds have seized their cars and homes in Chelsea, Mass., and Texas.

Sounds like the purse party is over.


Katharine Mieszkowski

Katharine Mieszkowski is a senior writer for Salon.

MORE FROM Katharine Mieszkowski

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Broadsheet Love And Sex



BROWSE SALON.COM
COMPLETELY AD FREE,
FOR THE NEXT HOUR

Read Now, Pay Later - no upfront
registration for 1-Hour Access

Click Here
7-Day Access and Monthly
Subscriptions also available
No tracking or personal data collection
beyond name and email address

•••


Fearless journalism
in your inbox every day

Sign up for our free newsletter

• • •