Ferndale woman charged with selling fake designer items as genuine goods

FERNDALE, Wash,. — A federal grand jury has charged a Ferndale woman with multiple counts of trafficking in counterfeit goods.

Kara Suneva Allen is accused of selling counterfeit handbags, jewelry and other items and representing them as products made by genuine designer brands, according to a news release from the office of U.S. attorney for the Western District of Washington, Nicholas W. Brown.

The 42-year-old woman ran a business called Keepin Up With Kara LLC out of a warehouse space in Ferndale. In March, a website for the business advertised 467 items for sale that appeared to be made by Adidas, Burberry, Cartier, Chanel, Christian Dior, Fendi, Gucci, Hermès, Louis Vuitton, MCM, Nike, Prada, Saint Laurent, Tiffany & Co., Tory Burch, and UGG, according to case records.

The products were priced significantly below the suggested retail price for genuine items.

In August and September of 2021, three shipments from China and Hong Kong that were headed to Allen’s company were seized from mail in Oakland, California. The shipments contained a wide variety of counterfeit goods, and though Allen was notified of the seizures, she never requested to have the shipments released, according to an investigation.

Shipping records showed that about 46 shipments from China and Hong Kong were sent to the Ferndale warehouse where Allen’s business operated between September 2021 and March 2022.

To document Allen’s sales, an undercover agent bought items through the company’s website. In one case, the agent bought a Louis Vuitton-branded handbag for $110.  The suggested retail price for that specific authentic Louis Vuitton handbag is $1,690.

A representative from Louis Vuitton confirmed the handbag purchased from the website was counterfeit.

After obtaining search and seizure warrants, police seized a large quantity of counterfeit goods from the Ferndale warehouse as well as Allen’s car and home on May 2.

A conviction for trafficking counterfeit goods carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a $2,000,000 fine.

The case is being investigated by Homeland Security Investigations with help from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Ferndale Police Department, and the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center.