Long Island Boutique Owner Arrested for Selling $40M Worth of Fake Designer Bags

Long Island Boutique Owner Arrested for Selling $40M Worth of Fake Designer Bags

A Long Island boutique owner is facing counterfeit trademarking charges following an 18-month investigation that revealed the fake designer pieces she was selling from her store.

Lindsay Castelli, 31, was arrested last Friday in connection with operating a counterfeit trademark boutique based in Plainview, Long Island, CBS News reports. She’s accused of selling fake luxury products and shipping them to unsuspecting customers across the country.

An 18-month investigation brought authorities to Linny’s Boutique, where 22 heat-pressing machines and labels were located. The labels would sell for more than $40 million if they were authentic.

“They would take a hat, a $3 hat, a fifty cent item on the side here, they would heat seal it onto the hat, and sell the hat for $300,” Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said.

“Simple $10 sweatshirt, you put the Chanel brand on it.”

A year-and-a-half-long investigation found “thousands of pounds’’ of faux luxury labels were being shipped around the country to unknowing customers. No one else has been charged in connection with the nationwide scam, NY Post reports.

“This was a sophisticated operation,” Nassau County DA Anne Donnelly said. “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.”

Castelli turned herself into authorities on Oct. 7, three days after authorities executed a search warrant where the huge stash of fake designer pieces was found. She was charged with second-degree trademark counterfeiting and is due back in court on Nov. 2.

Once news of her arrest hit the press, some of Castelli’s customers voiced their displeasure.

“Totally betrayed — you go in expecting that you’re buying as advertised and that you’re buying quality,” customer Carole Rutkovsky told ABC.

“This is something that we do not tolerate in Nassau County,” Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman said.

If found guilty, Castelli faces up to three years in prison.