Self-storage gets used for some pretty shady stuff, but this is a new one: as a homebase for counterfeiting luxury handbags and wallets! Last week, four Massachusetts residents were sentenced in federal court for money laundering, trafficking and conspiring to traffic designer goods and the materials to make them.
The criminals admitted to having rented 13 units at a Revere, Mass., self-storage facility for their tawdry purposes. When raided by police, the units held 12,231 counterfeit bags, 7,651 counterfeit wallets, more than 17,000 generic handbags and wallets, and enough counterfeit labels and medallions to create 50,000 more counterfeits, according to the article on PressZoom.com. Tossed in the mix were also counterfeit scarves, belts, umbrellas, sunglasses, shoes and jewelry with markings of the victim companies.
Which designers were being mimicked? Louis Vitton, Prada, Kate Spade, Gucci, Fendi, Burberry and Coachmy goodness! You know, maybe it's just me, but I don't get the allure of a several-hundred-dollar handbag. Have you seen some of these things? In some cases, the designers should pay customers to carry these hideous creations, not the other way around. In fact, people are blogging about "the ugliest handbag" by Louis Vitton ... selling for $42,000!!! But I digress.
Louis Vitton's "ugly" $42k bag.
Anyway, the self-storage bag hags were given 24-36 months in the slammer and, according to their plea agreements, they made more than $48K in restitution payments to victims and forfeited more than $41k being held in five bank accounts. Whew!
There was no mention of this in the article, but I'm wondering how those 13 units are being handled now. Is the operator still being paid? Have they been emptied and returned to service? These are things to consider ... When you're a victim of misuse and abuse by tenants, it's not just your reputation that's affected but potentially your income too. Yet another argument for properly screening customers!