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$24M Fake Cartier Case: Accused NC Pastor Misses Court Date, Is Reportedly At Large in China

Authorities discovered a cache of more than 3,200 counterfeit bracelets in a Chapel Hill church.

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$24M Fake Cartier Case: Accused NC Pastor Misses Court Date, Is Reportedly At Large in China
This U.S. Customs and Border Patrol photo shows bracelets seized in New Orleans. Officials say the seizure led to the arrest of JianGang “Frank” Lan in North Carolina. File photo.

A North Carolina pastor charged in a case involving fake Cartier bracelets has missed a court date and is reportedly at large in China.

INSTORE reported in August 2019 that Jiangang “Frank” Lan of Chapel Hill was charged with felony criminal use of a counterfeit trademark.

Lan was arrested after authorities discovered a cache of more than 3,200 counterfeit Cartier bracelets in a Chapel Hill church. The jewelry had an estimated retail value — the amount the genuine trademarked goods would sell for — of $24.4 million.

He was scheduled for a court appearance Monday in Orange County, but did not show up, the News & Observer reports.

Lan left the U.S. in 2021, according to Tim Crowley, spokesman for the North Carolina Secretary of State’s office, which is acting as special prosecutor. His lawyer argued that as a result of restrictions imposed by China, Lan can’t currently travel, according to the News & Observer.

It’s not clear what will happen next. Crowley said his office awaits direction from the court.

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The Cartier bracelets and other designer brand bracelets were found at the Deer Park Community Church at 108 W. Rosemary St. in Chapel Hill. Lan was listed as associate pastor on the church’s website in 2019.

The cache was described at the time of its discovery as the largest single seizure since the North Carolina Anti-Counterfeit Trademark Task Force was established in 2004.

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