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Pastor Charged with Having $24M in Fake Cartier Bracelets

Authorities found more than 3,200 bracelets.

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Pastor Charged with Having $24M in Fake Cartier Bracelets
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 pastor in North Carolina was arrested after authorities discovered a cache of more than 3200 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. It was the largest single seizure since the North Carolina Anti-Counterfeit Trademark Task Force was established in 2004, according to a press release from North Carolina Secretary of State’s office.

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JianGang “Frank” Lan, 34, of Chapel Hill has been charged with felony criminal use of a counterfeit trademark. Lan is being held under $25,000 bond in the Orange County Jail.

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 is listed as associate pastor on the church’s website.

“This is certainly the largest counterfeit seizure we have seen in terms of estimated retail value, and it is a major win for consumers and retailers,” Secretary of State Elaine F. Marshall said Friday. “Counterfeiters peddling fakes of an iconic brand such as Cartier are doing damage not only to that company’s brand, but to legitimate merchants, and to consumer trust in brand quality.”

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North Carolina Secretary of State Trademark Enforcement agents made the discovery, working with agents from the Department of Homeland Security’s Winston-Salem office, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and Blazer Investigations.

The find followed a tip from the Department of Homeland Security’s office in Louisville, KY.

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