Italian police said on Friday they have shut down a website selling fake products, including some attributed to Milan-based brand, Prada. No figures on total sales were available, but police called the counterfeit scheme and corresponding website were "very sophisticated." The site itself ran worldwide, using 90 service providers and standard electronic payment systems, and displayed photographs of authentic Prada products sold at prices in line with those offered at Prada's factory outlets, thereby, lending the site an increased level of credibility.
The products were made in China's Guangdong region and shipped by international couriers from Hong Kong, as opposed to legitimate Prada products, which are manufactured in Milan. Enforcement individuals from the Milanese fashion house were brought in to give an expert opinion on whether the goods were fake. "The products, although very accurate in every detail, were not authentic. They were extremely well-made counterfeits," police said in a statement.
Police said they had pinpointed an individual in France's Loire region, who was at the center of the counterfeit scheme. He had registered the website in the Netherlands and was using a server located in England. The funds amassed as a result of the counterfeit operation were traced to a bank account in southern China in the Guangdong region and seized by authorities.
(Reporting by Valentina Za, editing by Larry King, and additions/edits courtesy of TFL)