A con artist known as “The Handbag Hustler” has been sentenced to prison after defrauding U.S. department shops out of one million dollars by purchasing counterfeit versions of Chinese luxury handbags online and selling genuine ones.
41-year-old Praepitcha Smatsorabudh was caught returning counterfeit bags to more than sixty department shops.
She made thousands of dollars off of selling the actual designer products on Instagram.
A lady from Thailand was residing in Arlington, Virginia, based on a student visa.
She stole more than £400,000 from several department shops via her fraudulent schemes.
We were able to sell the authentic bags on Instagram and eBay for almost £2,000 apiece.
The maximum possible sentence for Praepitcha Smatsorabudh, 41, who is from Arlington, is thirty months in prison.
A woman who purchased luxury handbags online and then returned Chinese knock-offs to retailers to make a profit has been sentenced to prison for her actions.
Praepitcha Smatsorabudh, 41, from Arlington, pocketed the money she was refunded when she returned the fake bags in place of the original purchases to the department stores. She then sold the original versions of the Gucci, Fendi, and Burberry bags on Instagram and eBay for more than £2,000 each. Praepitcha Smatsorabudh was arrested for her role in the scheme.
According to the United States Department of Justice, she operated her intricate scheme for years throughout the United States by making false returns at more than 60 shops located in 12 different states.
In sum, her plot was responsible for the theft of almost £400,000 from several department shops. On Wednesday, she was given a jail term of thirty months.
In addition, the con artist was given a term of three years of supervised release, was forced to pay a forfeiture of £403,250.81 and was required to restitution to her victims in the same amount. Smatsorabudh was arrested in June when she was residing in Arlington, Virginia, purportedly on a student visa at the time of her detention. Smatsorabudh is originally from Thailand.
However, her Instagram account was filled to the brim with photographs that displayed her elegant way of living. On her Instagram account, Praepitcha Smatsorabudh promoted this bag by claiming that it came with a “genuine guarantee.”
Along with the other hundreds of handbags, she made this grey Celine purse available for purchase on her social media account. According to the court records, federal investigators searched her residence and recovered 572 handbags, some of which were counterfeit.
She posted about sushi, working out at the gym, and French-style pastries when she wasn’t selling pricey handbags on her Instagram account. The final thing she posted on her social media account was a slogan that said, “what comes easy won’t last; what lasts won’t come easy.” This motto is quite revealing.
On August 3, she entered a guilty plea. Investigators learned that Smatsorabudh made weekly purchases of handbags between the end of 2014 and the end of 2015 and that she did so consistently.
Smatsorabudh reportedly sent the following message to one of the providers of replica handbags in September 2014: “The nicest fake bag I’ve ever seen!” Would it be possible for you to send me additional… from this factory? They create bags that are IMPaCABLE!!!! [sic]!
T.J. Maxx was often her shopping destination of choice. According to a story in the Washington Post, she was the company’s largest internet client anywhere in the globe at one point in time. The company determined that women had returned 226 purses to its inventory.
After the business discovered what seemed to be a fraud, they notified the authorities. Neiman Marcus found ten more handbags in its inventory.
An undercover Homeland Security officer posed as a customer online and purchased one of the luxury bags from Smatsorabudh. This led to the officer’s decision to arrest Smatsorabudh.
According to the court filings, federal investigators searched her residence and discovered 572 handbags, some of which were counterfeit.
“What I did was such a terrible mistake. According to a story in The Washington Post, Smatsorabudh told the judge at her sentence hearing that she “deserves to be in prison.”