Seattle – A 42-year-old Ferndale, Washington woman was indicted this week by a federal grand jury for multiple counts of trafficking in counterfeit goods, announced U.S. Attorney Nick Brown. Kara Suneva Allen, aka Kara Suneva Mitchell is scheduled to appear for arraignment on the indictment on June 9, 2022.
According to records filed in the case, Allen operated a business named ‘Keepin Up With Kara’ LLC. The business was located in a warehouse space in Ferndale, Washington. As of March 2022, a website associated with the business advertised 467 different items for sale that appeared to be products made by Adidas, Burberry, Cartier, Chanel, Christian Dior, Fendi, Gucci, Hermès, Louis Vuitton, MCM, Nike, Prada, Saint Laurent, Tiffany & Co., Tory Burch, and UGG. All the products were priced substantially below the suggested retail price for the genuine items.
An investigation by Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office revealed that in August and September 2021, three shipments destined for Allen and her company were seized from the mail in Oakland, California. The shipments, which originated in China and Hong Kong, contained a wide variety of counterfeit goods, including handbags, wallets, and jewelry. Allen was notified of these seizures, but never petitioned to have the goods in the shipments released. An analysis of shipping records revealed that between September 2021 and March 2022, approximately 46 shipments from China and Hong Kong had been sent 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 made an undercover purchase of a Louis Vuitton-branded handbag for $110. The suggested retail price for that specific authentic Louis Vuitton handbag is $1,690.00. A Louis Vuitton representative confirmed the handbag purchased from 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 merchandise were seized.
The charges contained in the indictment are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Trafficking 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 assistance 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 Center.
The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Jessica M. Ly.