Two Central Illinois women have pleaded guilty of conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods. The two woman conducted business as “The Purse Lady” and sold counterfeit items. They each face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
According to court documents, Jannette Grant, 51, of Bloomington, Ill., and Kimberly Nein, 50, of Argenta, Ill., admitted to operating a business known as The Purse Lady, which offered items for sale that falsely bore trademarks of Coach, Kate Spade, Dolce & Gabbana, Chanel, Dooney & Bourke, Prada, Tiffany & Co. and others.
Goods were sold throughout central Illinois, including at various businesses; at home parties, also known as “purse parties;” through the mail; and at a warehouse in Argenta owned by Nein.
Grant and Nein admitted that they traveled to Chicago and New York regularly to purchase inventory. According to court documents, Grant and Nein advertised their items for sale as “replica/knockoff” and stated that all references to brands were for “entertainment and novelty purposes only” and “these companies are not affiliated with us in any way.”
During search warrants executed by HSI special agents May 12, 2011, at Grant’s home and at Nein’s warehouse in Argenta, special agents recovered more than 15,000 counterfeit items with an estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price of nearly $1.6 million.
Source: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)
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