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.
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.