Great Fakes! Thai woman in US arrested for buying designer handbags, returning knockoffs to the store

A Thai woman in Virginia was arrested for being the mastermind behind an alleged handbag scam that involved high-end brands such as Gucci, Burberry and Fendi.

Praepitcha Smatsorabudh has been accused of buying designer handbags — some costing over THB70,000 — from department store websites. She then, allegedly, traveled to at least 12 different states to make in-person returns with knockoffs obtained from suppliers in China and Hong Kong, according to federal authorities.

Praepitcha, who is in her early 40s, has allegedly netted over THB35 million in profits by selling the authentic bags on eBay and Instagram to customers over the past two years. The scheme was so prolific, she was named one of the top online customers of a major international department store, whose name is withheld.

In Sept. 2014, she emailed one of her counterfeit bag suppliers:  “The best fake bag I’ve ever seen! Can you send me more … from this factory. They make bag IMPaCABLE!!!!” [sic]

In March, Federal authorities raided her home in Arlington, Virginia and found 572 handbags, many of them fake.

Praepitcha, who was born in Thailand, has been charged with one count of wire fraud. She will be arraigned this week in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia and could face 20 years in prison if convicted, ABC News reported.

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