Chapel Hill minister busted with $24M in knockoff bracelets
Posted August 2, 2019 5:17 p.m. EDT
Updated August 2, 2019 5:27 p.m. EDT
Chapel Hill, N.C. — A Chapel Hill minister was arrested at his church Friday with a cache of more than 3,200 counterfeit Cartier bracelets, authorities said.
The case is the largest single seizure since the North Carolina Anti-Counterfeit Trademark Task Force was created in the Secretary of State's Office in 2004, authorities said. The knockoff bracelets have an estimated retail value – the amount genuine trademarked Cartier bracelets would sell for – of $24.4 million, they said.
Rev. JianGang "Frank" Lan, 34, of Chapel Hill, is charged with felony criminal use of a counterfeit trademark and was being held under $25,000 bond in the Orange County jail.
Lan is the assistant pastor of Deer Park Community Church, at 108 W. Rosemary St. in Chapel Hill.
A U.S. Department of Homeland Security office in Louisville, Ky., tipped off North Carolina authorities about the counterfeit bracelets, authorities said.
"This is certainly the largest counterfeit seizure we have seen in terms of estimated retail value, and it is a major win for consumers and retailers," Secretary of State Elaine Marshall said in a statement. "Counterfeiters peddling fakes of an iconic brand such as Cartier are doing damage not only to that company’s brand, but to legitimate merchants and to consumer trust in brand quality."