Artcify is a Hialeah print shop with a slogan that claims “creativity has no limits.” Police say the shop mostly created fakes.
Detectives on Wednesday busted the shops owner on allegations they were manufacturing knock-off Louis Vuitton shoes, sweaters, T-shirts, pants and towels, along with unlicensed NFL clothing and luxury clocks.
In all, Miami-Dade police said it found over $20,000 worth of counterfeit merchandise at the store on the 2600 block of West 79th Street.
Those arrested: owners Adolfo Parreno, 55, Santiago Mesa, 45, Raul Jimenez, 38, and Daniela Jimenez, 41. They are being charged with felonies related to selling and manufacturing counterfeit goods.
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It’s not uncommon for detectives to bust people selling counterfeit fashion items. Earlier this month, cops busted a West Miami shop they said was selling more counterfeit purses, watches and hats out of a backroom – items that would have been worth over $9 million were it real.
But arrests of local suspects for the actual manufacturer of the fake are less common.
The investigation into Artcify began this month after Miami-Dade police got a tip from local private investigator Eric Berger, who specializes in intellectual property and works for several major brands.
Acting on information from a source, Berger paid an undercover visit to Artcify, claiming to be a fashion buyer for a chain of stores, according to an arrest report.
The owner, who identified himself as “Marcelo Parreno,” gave the private eye a tour of the store and a peek at his products. During his visit, Berger noticed several items inscribed with the well-known Louis Vuitton logo.
He surreptitiously snapped a photo of one item, then sent it to police.
Investigators raided the store, finding merchandise that would be worth more than $20,000 were it real, according to the arrest report by Miami-Dade Detective Michael Hufnagel.
According to Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, the business of counterfeiting designer goods rakes in about $650 billion each year.
“Artistic creativity should never merge with criminal activity,” Rundle said in a statement.
Miami Herald staff writer David Ovalle contributed to this report.