New Jersey, an unfortunate interlude between New York and Philadelphia, has long been associated with stretching the law. It is seldom mentioned in the same breath with fashion.
Nevertheless, fashion plays a key supporting role in the latest New Jersey corruption scandal. While allegations regarding crooked mayors, money-laundering rabbis, and kidney traffickers have filled the headlines, it's amusing to note that the FBI's key informant posed as a manufacturer of counterfeit handbags.
In several conversations excerpted in the criminal complaints (here, here, and here), "cooperating witness" Solomon Dwek indicated that the money in need of laundering came from the sale of bags manufactured in Brooklyn with fake labels. "Business is very good. Prada, Gucci, boom, boom, boom."
Really? Even if the alleged money launderers were willing to do business with a guy who had been arrested for bank fraud only a year earlier, you'd think they'd have better sense than to believe that a large-scale counterfeit manufacturing operation was located in Brooklyn rather than overseas. Adding fake labels to generic imports, maybe, but start-to-finish production? In this century, that would be a real stretch.