US pastor arrested in counterfeit Cartier case

A man has been arrested in the US after a whopping $24m-worth of counterfeit designer bracelets, including Cartier items, were seized.

JianGang “Frank” Lan (34) – a Chapel Hill pastor – was arrested on Friday by agents with North Carolina Secretary of State Trademark Enforcement, and charged with felony criminal use of a trademark.

Around 3,200 fake Cartier and other designer bracelets were found at Deer Park Community Church on West Rosemary Street, where Lan reportedly served as an associate pastor (picture taken from church website).

The arrest comes just a few days after $2.6m in counterfeit Cartier bracelets were intercepted by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in New Orleans. There has been an upsurge in seizures of Cartier jewellery of late, particularly the company’s Love Bracelets which can retail for anything between $4,500 to more than $50,000 apiece. It’s not yet clear which Cartier products were discovered in the latest enforcement operation.

Following a tip from the Department of Homeland Security’s Office in Louisville, Kentucky, agents raided the church premises in Chapel Hill and detained Lan. He is being held under $25,000 bond in the Orange County Jail.

“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,” said Secretary of State Elaine Marshall in a news release.

“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.”

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