N.Y. Boutique Owner Charged After Police Find $40 Million in Fake Designer Items at Her Store

Supported By:

Net Patrol International Inc.  Data Investigation and Forensic Services
Bankruptcy and Insolvency Trustees

A boutique owner from Long Island, New York, has been charged for allegedly selling millions of dollars worth of counterfeit designer items.

Lindsay Castelli, 31, surrendered to police last Friday, the Nassau County Police Department said in a release shared Tuesday.

Authorities’ began investigating Castelli’s store — Linny’s Boutique at 1032 Old Country Road — last April and said that it “contained thousands of synthetic heat-sealed counterfeit labels along with assorted clothing and jewelry.” She is the only owner of the boutique.

Asset Forfeiture Detectives executed a search warrant at the store on Oct. 4.

“During the search, Detectives removed 22 printing press machines and various counterfeit items labeled from Gucci, Chanel, Prada, Dior, Ugg, and Louis Vuitton,” police said in the release, adding that the items altogether were worth more than $40 million.

They later found that the alleged fake items were being sent “all over the United States.”

In a brief news conference captured by FOX 5 New York, Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder held up a black hat with a smiley face on it and said, “They would take a hat — a $3 hat — [with a] 50 cent item on the side here. They would heat-seal it onto the hat and then sell this hat for $300.”

He then presented a pink sweatshirt, stating, “A simple $10 sweatshirt, you put the Chanel brand on it, it sells for $5,300. A $10 sweatshirt with a counterfeit sticker — $5,300.”

One customer, Carole Rutkovsky, told New York City’s ABC 7 that she felt “totally betrayed,” adding, “You go in expecting that you’re buying as advertised, and that you’re buying quality.”

“This was a sophisticated operation,” said Nassau County DA Anne Donnelly, per CBS News. “A storefront that you could have walked by hundreds of times and not realized what was in it was thousands and thousands of dollars of counterfeit goods.” 

She added a warning for other counterfeit shop owners: “We will arrest you and seize your merchandise. It’s not worth it.”

“They work hard to build a brand, and what’s going on here is people are stealing that brand and then are deceiving the public,” Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman added, according to the outlet.

Still, one woman told CBS News that she isn’t surprised.

“I think if you’re shopping here in that kind of store you expect you’re not buying a full real Gucci bag,” she said. 

Castelli has been charged with trademark counterfeiting in the second degree.

She has been released on a desk-appearance ticket. Her first court appearance will be at First District Court in Hempstead on Nov. 2.

Her boutique has been shut down, CBS News reported.

It’s not clear if Castelli has hired a lawyer to comment on her behalf.

This article was originally sourced from msn.com