St. Charles police bust counterfeit ring at fairgrounds
St. Charles police arrested four people over the weekend on charges of selling counterfeit designer purses, jewelry, sunglasses and other items at three booths at the Kane County Flea Market.
"There were approximately 5,000 items between the four subjects," police spokesman Paul McCurtain said. "It's one of the larger (busts) we've had."
Charged with violating the Counterfeit Trademark Act are: Armila Ramos Santarromana, 47, of the 300 block of Weymouth Avenue, Elgin; Roberto Antonio Santarromana, 49, of the 400 block of Fremont Street, Elgin; Ying Fu, 46, of the 1600 block of West 35th Street, Chicago; and Jin Yue Qu, 50, of the 0-99 block of 110th Street, Corona, N.Y.
If convicted, the felony charges carry up to seven years in prison, but probation also is an option.
According to police, officers responded to the fairgrounds Sunday after private, undercover investigators representing the designer firms bought two metal silver items wrapped in blue/green bags that said "Tiffany and Co." on the side.
A Tiffany and Co. investigator verified that the items had not been produced by the company, according to police.
Reports said Fu was selling counterfeit items out of a booth at the fairgrounds and had 1,129 trademarked items, including 752 pieces of Tiffany & Co. jewelry, 180 pieces of Channel Jewelry, 156 Coach labels and 41 Louis Vuitton wallets.
During questioning, Qu told officers he was aware the items were not authentic, reports said.
Reports also said Roberto Santarromana told police the booth belonged to Armila Santarromana, his ex-wife. He told police she purchases the merchandise online, then brings the items to the fair. Armila Santarromana told officers she did order the items online and had them shipped to her.
Officers then took Armila Santarromana to a storage unit facility in Bartlett. She agreed to open the units and authorities found the same items police located in her possession at the fairgrounds, reports said.
McCurtain said the department has a good working relationship with the undercover firm and there usually are a couple arrests each year in the area for bogus goods.
Bond was set at $5,000 for each of the four arrestees. As of late Tuesday afternoon all had posted bond except for Qu, who is in the United States illegally, police said, and Immigration and Custom's Enforcement has placed a hold on him.
The Santarromanas are due in court May 18; Qu and Fu on May 19.