Embassy staffer and wife indicted for fake goods trafficking

A US official and his wife have been arrested in connection with a conspiracy to traffic fake Vera Bradley handbags from the US embassy in Seoul, South Korea.

Gene Leroy Thompson Jr. (53) and Guojiao “Becky” Zhang (39) were indicted by a grand jury in Eugene, Oregon, and charged with conspiracy and trafficking in counterfeit goods. According to court documents, between September 2017 and December 2019, the pair allegedly sold fake Vera Bradley bags from e-commerce accounts throughout the US.

Thompson is employed as an information programmes officer at the embassy, and is alleged to have used his work PC to create numerous accounts on a variety of e-commerce platforms, all from within a secure space designed to protect classified information. Zhang took primary responsibility for operating the accounts, communicating with customers, and procuring merchandise.

Action was taken after Vera Bradley sent a cease-and-desist letter to an accomplice in Oregon who stored and shipped the goods in April 2018.

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