SEATTLE – A 42-year-old woman from Ferndale, Wash. was indicted by a federal grand jury this week on multiple counts of trafficking in counterfeit goods, US Attorney Nick Brown announced. Kara Suneva Allen, aka Kara Suneva Mitchell, is scheduled to appear on June 9, 2022 for the arraignment.
According to the records filed in this case, Allen operated a business called “Keepin Up With Kara” LLC. The store was located in a warehouse in Ferndale, Washington. In March 2022, a company-affiliated website advertised 467 different items for sale, which appeared to be products from Adidas, Burberry, Cartier, Chanel, Christian Dior, Fendi, Gucci, Hermès, Louis Vuitton, MCM, Nike, Prada, Saint Laurent, Tiffany & Co., Tory Burch and UGG. All products were well below the recommended retail price for the original items.
An investigation by Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office found that in August and September 2021, three packages destined for Allen and her company were found at the Oakland, California Post Office. were confiscated. The shipments, which originated in China and Hong Kong, contained a variety of counterfeit goods, including handbags, wallets and jewellery. Allen was informed of these seizures but never requested the goods in the shipments to be released. An analysis of shipping records revealed that between September 2021 and March 2022, approximately 46 shipments were sent from China and Hong Kong to the Ferndale warehouse where Keepin Up With Kara operated.
To document Allen’s sale of counterfeit goods, an undercover agent made online purchases from the company’s website. In one instance, the agent covertly bought a Louis Vuitton handbag for $110. The suggested retail price for this specific authentic Louis Vuitton handbag is $1,690.00. A Louis Vuitton representative confirmed that the handbag purchased on the website was counterfeit.
On May 2, 2022, law enforcement executed search and seizure warrants at Allen’s place of business, home and vehicle. Large quantities of counterfeit goods were confiscated.
The charges contained in the indictment are allegations only. A person is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Dealing in counterfeit goods is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $2,000,000 fine.
The case is being investigated by Homeland Security Investigations with support from US Customs and Border Protection, the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office, the US Postal Inspection Service, the Ferndale Police Department and the National Intellectual Property Rights Center.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant US Special Attorney Jessica M. Ly.