FERNDALE, Wash. — A Ferndale woman was indicted this week by a federal grand jury for multiple counts of trafficking in counterfeit goods, announced US Attorney Nick Brown. Kara Suneva Allen, age 42, also known as Kara Suneva Mitchell, is scheduled to appear for arraignment on the indictment on June 9th.
According to records filed in the case, Allen operated a business named Keepin Up With Kara LLC located in a warehouse space in the 5400 block of Barrett Road in Ferndale. According to a press release from Western Washington US Attorney’s Office, 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, US Customs and Border Protection, and the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office reports 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 reportedly originated in China and Hong Kong, contained a wide variety of counterfeit goods, including handbags, wallets and jewelry. Allen was notified of the seizures, but she reportedly 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 the business 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 the business’ warehouse and Allen’s home and vehicle. Large quantities of counterfeit merchandise were seized.
If found guilty, trafficking in counterfeit goods is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $2,000,000 fine.
The case continues to be investigated by Homeland Security Investigations with assistance from US Customs and Border Protection, the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office, US 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.
Allen has prior felony convictions in Whatcom County Superior Court for 1st degree identity theft, 2nd theft and 2nd degree possession of stolen property.