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Handbag hustler: Scam artist jailed for counterfeit handbags scheme

December 28, 2016  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Handbag hustler: Scam artist jailed for counterfeit handbags scheme fake handbags

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A Thai woman who purchased designer handbags online before returning the Chinese counterfeit handbags to stores and collecting the profits has been put behind bars.

The Daily Mail reported that 41-year-old Praepitcha Smatsorabudh from Arlington collected the money that she was refunded when she returned the fake bags as authentic purchases to department stores and then sold the real versions of the Fendi, Gucci, and Burberry bags on eBay and Instagram for over $2,000 each.

She conducted her extensive counterfeit handbags scheme for years across the U.S. making fraudulent returns at over 60 stores across 12 states, the U.S. Department of Justice reported.

Her scheme defrauded department stores of more than $400,000.

On Wednesday, she was sentenced to 30 months behind bars.

Praepitcha Smatsorabudh, 41, of Arlington has been jailed for up to 30 months

The con artist was also sentenced to three years of supervised release and is required to pay $403,250.81 in fines and the same amount in restitution to her victims.

Smatsorabudh, who was originally from Thailand, was living in Arlington, Virginia on a student visa at the time of her apprehension in June.

Her Instagram account was full of photos showing off her lavish lifestyle.

She pleaded guilty in the case back on August 3rd.

Detectives found that Smatsorabudh purchased handbags every week between 2014 and 2015.

Federal authorities raided her home and found 572 handbags, of which some were fake, court documents say

In an email to one of the fake handbag suppliers in September 2014, Smatsorabudh reportedly said: “The best fake bag I’ve ever seen! Can you send me more? They make bag IMPaCABLE [sic]!!!!”

She was also known to target T.J. Maxx and was even the company’s biggest online customer in the world at one point, according to the Washington Post. The firm that she had returned 226 purses.

Once the retailer caught onto the scam, they contacted authorities.

Neiman Marcus was schemed out of ten additional handbags.

Smatsorabudh was arrested after an undercover Homeland Security officer played a buyer and bought one of the designer purses from her.

Her home was raided by federal authorities, where they discovered 572 handbags, some of which were counterfeit, court documents indicated.

“What I did was so wrong. I deserve to be in jail,” she said at her sentencing hearing.

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