This Woman’s $1M Designer Handbag Scheme Landed Her 30 Months In Prison

Photo: Courtesy of Saint Laurent
Do not try this at home, because Virginia preschool teacher Praepitcha Smatsorabudh's Orange Is the New Black-worthy designer handbag scheme just totally backfired. The Fashion Law reports that she was sentenced to 30 months in prison and has to pay upwards of $400,000 in restitution to retailers she tricked into giving her over a million dollars through returned handbags. Apparently, Smatsorabudh's scheme consisted of buying designer handbags at 60 T.J. Maxx stores in 12 states. Using 16 different credit cards, the teacher would buy the bags, bring them home, swap them for counterfeit dupes, and return those bags to make back the money. She'd then sell the original, real bags on Ebay. She did this at least 226 times, with an additional ten occurring at Neiman Marcus, making over $1 million in a number of years. Designers included Gucci, Fendi, Céline, Balenciaga, Yves Saint Laurent, and Hermès, which were replaced with fakes smuggled from China and Hong Kong. The real bags, some worth over $2,000, were resold on both Ebay and Smatsorabudh's Instagram account, but the 41-year-old reportedly kept anywhere between twelve and 100 bags for herself. She blames this on a "compulsion to have expensive handbags."

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Authorities began investigating Smatsorabudh almost exactly a year ago, posing as an Ebay customer and tracing one of these transactions back to her. They raided her home only to find 572 fake and genuine handbags. She pleaded guilty to wire fraud on August 3rd. The Fashion Law reports that Smatsorabudh will likely be deported back to Thailand after prison.

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