Praepitcha Smatsorabudh’s Instagram account, Rich Girl’s Collection, features over 100 photos of designer handbags — Givenchy, YSL, Fendi, Céline, Balenciaga, you name the brand, she had their merch, basically. (As befits a “Rich Girl’s” Insta account, photos also showed her dining out in style, traveling in style, and, well, owning a pair of high-fashion clogs.)
According to federal prosecutors, however, Smatsorabudh funded her “Rich Girl” lifestyle thanks to an elaborate scheme which saw her buy designer handbags from stores, then return fakes she had ordered from factories in Hong Kong and China. (She’d then sell most of the real-deal bags online, as well as, allegedly, more fakes too.) The Daily Mail cites an email investigators found she’d written to one factory, which reads “The best fake bag I’ve ever seen! Can you send me more … from this factory. They make bag IMPaCABLE!!!!”
Using as many as 16 different credit cards at any one time, Smatsorabudh targeted different stores, and stores’ branches, to avoid detection. She most often shopped at T J Maxx, though, and at one point was reportedly the store’s “biggest online customer in the world.” Prosecutors say, in a period of just over a year, she returned 226 bags, with her refunds coming to just over $400,000. T J Maxx contacted police after noticing the patterns in her behavior, however, and a sting operation was set up. Federal officials later raided her house and found 572 (!!!) designer bags there, a mix of real and counterfeit items.
In court, Smatsorabudh acknowledged that her actions were “so wrong” and that she felt she “deserved” to go to jail. Her attorney argued, though, that her “compulsion” for designer handbags was borne out of “isolation and loneliness,” and “became a substitute for human connection.” And for what it’s worth, in his sentencing — Smatsorabudh received a jail term of 30 months, and is likely to be deported to Thailand, her home country, following her release — the judge presiding over her trial offered some damning praise: “I think what you did was ingenious,” he said. “It’s stealing, but the Internet has given us so many more ways to steal. . . . I thought I’d seen everything.”
All to fittingly, the last photo Smatsorabudh shared on her Insta is not a pricy purse, but a motivational quote:
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