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December 15, 2015Denver, CO, United StatesIntellectual Property Rights and Commercial Fraud

Denver-area man indicted for selling counterfeit merchandise

Photo Courtesy of Denver District Attorney’s Office

DENVER — A Denver Grand Jury indictment was unsealed Monday charging a Denver-area man with illegally selling counterfeit purses and other merchandise for years.

The specific charges of the indictment include trademark counterfeiting and tax crimes. This indictment resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Denver Police Department, and the Denver County District Attorney’s Office.

Randy Lynn Hastings, 59, is charged with two counts of tax violation, two counts of tax evasion and five counts of trademark counterfeiting.

This indictment alleges that between Jan. 1, 2013 and Nov. 4, 2015, Hastings promoted himself as the “Randy The Purse Guy,” and unlawfully sold counterfeit merchandise, including purses, wallets, watches and sunglasses. During the same time frame, Hastings also unlawfully failed to collect and pay taxes.

In 2008, Hastings was the target of an undercover HSI investigation in Denver that resulted in seizing hundreds of items of counterfeit merchandise. In 2010, Hastings was arrested in Lone Tree, Colorado, for trademark counterfeiting and was given a deferred judgment in that case.

“Selling counterfeit merchandise is not a victimless crime,” said David A. Thompson, special agent in charge of HSI Denver. “Counterfeits steal jobs from Americans, they support organized crime, and they produce tainted or substandard merchandise – some of which may be harmful to the consumer.”

The local investigation began in July 2014, when the manager of the Louis Vuitton store in Cherry Creek notified Denver police that counterfeit Vuitton merchandise was being sold out of a van at University Boulevard and 2nd Avenue. The investigation was taken into the Grand Jury in May 2015, resulting in an indictment that was unsealed Dec. 14.

Hastings fled Colorado earlier this year, and was located in Owatonna, Minnesota, near Minneapolis last week. He was taken into custody by HSI special agents.