An investigation stretching around 18 months resulted in the arrest of a woman in New York and the confiscation of over $40 million worth of fake merchandise, officials announced.
On Oct. 11, authorities in Nassau County, Long Island, said 31-year-old Lindsay Castelli turned herself in to police four days earlier and she faces a charge of second-degree trademark counterfeiting, WABC-TV reported.
In April 2021, police launched “Operation Rainfall,” an investigation involving Castelli, the sole owner of Linny’s Boutique in Plainview.
On Oct. 4, detectives executed a search warrant on the business and allegedly found 22 printing press machines as well as thousands of synthetic heat-sealed counterfeit labels for luxury brands that included Gucci, Chanel, Prada and Louis Vuitton, the station reported.
“They would take a hat, a $3 hat, a 50-cent item on the side. They would heat seal it onto the hat and sell the hat for $300,” Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said at a press conference.
“A simple $10 sweatshirt, you put the Chanel brand on it, it sells for $5,300,” he noted.
According to law enforcement, the counterfeited goods were sold at the boutique as well as online and distributed across the country.
“Not only did she cheat the retail industry, but she also cheated postal customers that must ultimately shoulder the costly burden," U.S. Postal Inspector Glen McKechnie said.
Castelli was released on a desk appearance ticket after her arrest. She is scheduled to next appear in court on Nov. 2.
She faces up to three years in prison if convicted of the charge against her.
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