Indian Woman in Florida Arrested for Fashion Retail Scam After Found Buying and Returning Expensive Bags RepeatedlyTop Stories

April 12, 2019 10:49
Indian Woman in Florida Arrested for Fashion Retail Scam After Found Buying and Returning Expensive Bags Repeatedly

(Image source from: Fort LauderdaleDaily)

An Indian origin woman in Miami, Florida has been running a designer-handbag scam for the last two years and was finally nabbed earlier this week.

The 39-year-old Meghana Rajadhyaksha used to mingle with influential persons at galas and charity event while flashing handbags from the likes of Fendi, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton. But who knew she returns duplicates and retains originals of these luxuries to the website she purchased it from for large amounts of money.

Rajadhyaksha has been running this fashion retail scam through the internet and mail, according to a federal criminal complaint. The woman has been charged and arrested with mail and wire fraud.

It was revealed that Rajadhyaksha was returning duplicates of these branded handbags with all tags intact while she retained the original products.

However, the criminal complaint doesn't state what she did with the actual handbags and where she got the replicas from.

She made her first appearance in the federal court on Wednesday and was later released on a USD 250,000 bond.

Her attorney, Christopher Lyons was quoted by Miami Herald saying that his client is "completely devastated" at this point of time.

"She is extremely distraught over this and her primary focus right now is on her family. However, she wanted to thank the federal agents for the professionalism that they extended to her and her family throughout the process," Lyons told the Miami Herald.

Rajadhyaksha is a regular at all the charity events and socializes with the fashionable and elite in Miami. Her husband Amar Dilip Rajadhyaksha is an orthopedic surgeon. According to the criminal complaint, Rajadhyaksha appeared on the radar of retailer T.J. Maxx in November 2017.

Company investigators suspected her of running a scam by ordering branded handbags on its e-commerce website, using PayPal for the credit-card purchases, and then returning the high-end bags for refunds over and over again, the complaint stated. The retailer conducted his investigation and later alerted the U.S. Secret Service, which specializes in fake probes.

"Rajadhyaksha has placed dozens of orders for and received original handbags, which were later returned with substitute handbags to trigger refunds to her," read the Secret Service complaint, which was filed by prosecutor Stephanie Hauser.

Last year, T.J. Maxx investigators started monitoring her orders of the luxury handbags, including a Dolce and Gabbana Welcome Handbag, priced at USD 2,000. Before shipping the bag to her home, T.J. Maxx investigators marked the handbags with ultraviolet ink that would not be visible to the naked eye without a black light, the complaint added.

The investigators soon discovered that Rajadhyaksha constantly returned the bag with the tags on to get refunds, but the handbags did not have the UV ink marking. The investigators also kept track of multiple requests for refunds, but the bags returned by Rajadhyaksha were fake, the retailer said in the complaint.

In February this year, the complaint stated that Rajadhyaksha placed an order with T.J. Maxx on its e-commerce website for a Valentino Candystud, a Gucci Marmont and a Fendi convertible crossbody clutch.

Last month, T.J. Maxx joined forces with the Secret Service for an undercover operation.

On March 13, a Secret Service agent dressed as a UPS agent delivered three handbags - Valentino, Gucci, and Fendi - to Rajadhyaksha. That afternoon, she went to the UPS store located on South Dixie Highway in Coral Gables and shipped the bag back to T.J. Maxx store, the video surveillance footage showed.

Two days later, when the handbags were received at the e-commerce center in Tennessee, investigators found that she returned the replicas instead of the actual bags to obtain refunds.

"When the returned handbags arrived, the T.J. Maxx investigators photographed and recorded a detailed written description of the returned handbags, and checked the interior of the handbags with a black light for the UV ink marking," the complaint stated.

The complaint also mentioned that based on the inspection, T.J. Maxx determined that the handbags returned by her were not the original bags, even though they had T.J. Maxx tags attached.

-Sangam Sowmya

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