US embassy worker and spouse admit trafficking in fake goods

A US official and his wife arrested last year in connection with a conspiracy to traffic fake Vera Bradley handbags have pleaded guilty to the charges.

Gene Leroy Thompson Jr. (54) – who worked as an information programmes who worked at the US embassy in Seoul, South Korea – and Guojiao “Becky” Zhang (40) have pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods.

According to court documents, between September 2017 and December 2019, the pair sold fake Vera Bradley bags and other counterfeit goods from e-commerce accounts throughout the US. 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.

“Thompson Jr. used his State Department computer to create numerous accounts on a variety of e-commerce platforms,” said the Department f Justice in a statement on the guilty pleas.

“Once Thompson Jr. created these accounts, Zhang took primary responsibility for operating the accounts, communicating with customers, and procuring counterfeit merchandise,” it added.

Sentencing for both defendants  is due to take place on March 18, 2021.

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