Woman Made Thousands Exchanging Fake Designer Bags On eBay

“I think what you did was ingenious. It’s just stealing, but the internet has given us so many more ways to steal. ... I thought I’d seen everything,” said Judge Lee.



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Don’t believe everything you see on Instagram.

A 41-year-old Thai woman was arrested for running an “ingenious” fake designer bag scam on her Instagram account @richgirlscollection.

Praepitcha Smatsorabudh, living in Arlington, VA, used the page to boast of a lavish lifestyle which she projected by purchasing designer bags from Gucci, Burberry and YSL. She would then return Chinese-made fake versions to the stores and pocket the cash. She also started a highly lucrative, if illegal, business by selling many of the real bags on Instagram and eBay for more than $2,000.







Smatsorabudh was able to continue with this fraud for years by using multiple credit cards and visiting 60 different stores across 12 states and successfully defrauding $400,000 worth of designer bags from stores.

Investigators learned the Thai woman bought a handbag every week from the end of 2014 to late 2015 and would usually target T.J. Maxx. At one time, she was their biggest online customer in the world.

She was eventually arrested when a T.J. Maxx employer discovered her pattern and a Homeland Security officer bought one of her bags in an online shopping crackdown. Law enforcement officers found 572 bags, both real and fake, in her home.

Smatsorabudh pled guilty to the court and stated:

“What I did was so wrong. I deserve to be in jail.”

“I think what you did was ingenious,” Judge Bruce Lee told her. “It’s just stealing, but the internet has given us so many more ways to steal. ... I thought I’d seen everything.”

Smatsorabudh’s defense attorney, Nina Ginsberg, stated her behavior was fueled by a traumatic history. The woman grew up in Thailand and was emotionally and physically abused by her quarrelsome parents who openly had illicit affairs with other people.

“It became a substitute for human connection, which I think is profoundly sad,” Ginsberg said in court. “I think it was brought on by ... extreme bouts of loneliness and isolation.”

The woman has been sentenced to 33 months in prison by a federal judge in Alexandria, VA, and has to pay a fine of $403,250.

But Assistant U.S. Attorney Kellen S. Dwyer argued some of the bags she returned were probably resold to other customers who paid premium prices for them.

“That is a very big concern,” he said in court, “bigger than $400,000.”

Some online buyers have also claimed Smatsorabudh sold them extremely well-made fake bags.

After Smatsorabudh is released, she will most probably be deported back to Thailand.

Her last post on her still-active Instagram page is “What comes easy, won’t last. What lasts won’t come easy.”

Banner/Thumbnail credit: Reuters

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