NEW YORK — Law enforcement officials said last week that a nine-month undercover investigation into the sales of fake Tiffany jewelry and accessories led to the arrests of three alleged counterfeiters and the seizure of merchandise valued at well over $2.6 million.
In raids last Thursday at three stores in and around Canal Street, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, working in conjunction with the United States attorney’s office in Brooklyn, seized 6,900 pieces of counterfeit Tiffany jewelry, including knockoffs of some of the jewelry retailer’s best-known jewelry designs and even the company’s famed tiny blue box packaging.
Nadine Renee Vargas and Yaniv Shamir, the proprietors of Starglam.com, a Web site based in Staten Island that sold the counterfeit items bought from Canal Street, were arrested and arraigned last Tuesday. Chee-Soon Tai, the owner and operator of Enndi Silver, at 251 Canal Street in lower Manhattan, was arrested and arraigned on Thursday. He was found with 4,168 pieces, valued at $979,480. Two other storefronts in the Canal Street area were also raided.
All were charged with conspiracy to commit criminal copywrite infringement. The maximum penalty is five years imprisonment and fines of up to $250,000, according to Michael Asaro, an assistant U.S. attorney for the eastern district of New York.
The FBI last September received a complaint regarding the manufacture and distribution of counterfeit Tiffany jewelry through the Web site, Starglam.com. In December, FBI agents searched the Staten Island business of Vargas and Shamir and found roughly 600 pieces of sterling silver jewelry and boxes of shopping bags bearing the Tiffany logo, valued at roughly $90,000.
Vargas said she would typically purchase 10 to 20 jewelry pieces from Enndi Silver, paying roughly $2,000 to $3,000 for the jewelry. In January, an undercover FBI agent went to the Canal Street store and purchased a counterfeit sterling silver chain, which was on display for roughly $22. The authentic piece of jewelry sells in the retail market for approximately $195.
Last Thursday, officials found an additional 6,900 pieces spread among three stores. Tiffany representatives have estimated the retail value for authentic merchandise would be about $1.6 million.
From overseeing America’s fastest-growing speciality retailers to codifying cool, WWD talked to the women who are leading the way for the future of beauty. Check out our Instagram Stories to see how these women built today and are creating tomorrow. (📸: @hannah_khymych) #wwdbeauty
For @laperlalingerie's spring 2018 show, the brand chose to host their event at @thevenetianmacao. With Chinese megastars @bingbing_fan and @hubing in attendance, La Perla debuted a rock ‘n’ roll-inspired collection. The show marked the start of Sands Macao Fashion Week, which runs from October 19 to 24 — the city’s first such event. Pictured here are models backstage with glimmering eyes. #wwdfashion (📷: Cheuk-Yin To)
Trending for spring 2018: top stitch design. Gone are the days of stitch just for seams — designers are using the once-minimal detail to create strong decorative elements. (📷: Paola Testa; Styled by @andrew_shang) #wwdfashion
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)