Two Central Illinois women, including one from Bloomington pleaded guilty Wednesday in Peoria federal court, to conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods. According to a news release from the U S Attorney's office, Jannette Grant, 51 of Bloomington and Kimberly Nein , 50, of Argenta, Illinois, who did business as The Purse Lady, waived an indictment and entered their plea. Sentencing is set for August 13th and both women could face up to five years in prison and fines up to a quarter million dollars. In court documents, Grant and Nein admitted to operating a business which offered items for sale that falsely bore trademarks of Coach, Kate Spade, Dolce and Gabbana, Chanel, Dooney and Bourke, Prada, Tiffancy and Co and others. Goods were sold throughout Central Illinois including at various businesses, at home parties, also known as "purse parties", through the mail and at a warehouse in Argenta. According to prosecutors, the women admitted traveling to Chicago and New York to purchase inventory. They advertised their items to for sale as "replica/knockoff" and stated that all references to brands were for entertainment and novelty purposes only and the companies were not affiliated with them in anyway. Prosecutors claim they recovered more than fifteen thousand counterfeit items worth more than one and a half million dollars. The items included 2000 purses, 900 wallets, 400 sunglasses, 10,900 emblems and medallions and other items.
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