Private Investigator Tips Cops, All Take Part In Major Takedown
BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — You may not know Eric Berger but he is a private investigator trained by major high end designer companies, including Rolex, Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Prada and more to know the difference between counterfeit and real merchandise. He is hired by these companies to find people selling “fake” goods as real.
Berg, according to an affidavit of probable cause filed by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, did just that when he investigated more than 1000 items being sold on OfferUp by Boca Raton’s Lida Montoya in the 9000 block of Arbor Oaks Lane.
You must read the arrest report excepts below.
“EVERYONE ELSE IS SELLING IT.”
“On Tuesday, June 16, 2020, Undercover Agents with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office arrived at the aforementioned location for the purpose of conducting a control buy of numerous items from Montoya outside her resident. Montoya had a young boy grab a box wrapped with yellow duct tape from inside her residence and brought it over to a 2018 Chevy Equinox. It should be noted that the vehicle is registered to Montoya. Inside of that said box were multiple Louis Vuitton handbags and wallets. While standing outside of the Equinox, Agents can also see in plains view other designer handbags and wallets, matching the descriptions of the items also being sold on OfferUp by Montoya. Undercover Agents then negotiated and purchased one black Chanel handbag for $86, two Louis Vuitton handbags for $400 and one black Gucci wallet for $45. Undercover Agents made a hand to hand transaction with Montoya and provided Montoya with six $100 bills bearing recorded serial numbers. Montoya returned them with $70 in change.
Berger, who has been trained by Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Gucci with over 20 years experience, was able to determine they were counterfeit by the following” the Chanel bag is missing a serial number inside th lining of the handbag, which clearly identifies the bag belonging to the manufacturer; the stitching in the Louis Vuitton bags do not align. According to the Authenticator, Louis Vuitton uses one piece of leather to avoid the LV trademark from being disproportioned. The Gucci font on the wallet is wrong and scratches off.
The counterfeit Chanel handbag which was identified has a retail value of approximately $1700. The counterfeit Louis Vuitton handbags which were identified ahas a combined retail value of approximately $3,900. The counterfeit Gucci wallet which was identified has a retail value of approximately $395. A pre-determined arrest signal was given at which time members of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office effected the arrest of Montoya.
Montoya was advised of her constitutional rights on the scene. Montoya agreed to cooperate with authorities and indicated that she has been selling counterfeit purses and handbags since November 2019. Montoya also stated that the items sold on today’s control buy were all counterfeit as well. When I asked Montoya if she had knowledge that selling counterfeit merchandise was illegal, she stated “everyone else is selling it.”
Montoya was jailed and later released on $5,000 bond. A court date is pending.
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