This week, Rev. JianGang "Frank" Lan, a pastor in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, stood trial for allegedly selling $24 million worth of counterfeit Cartier bracelets, according to WNCN News.
Lan was reportedly caught with over 3,000 worth of the fake goods at Deer Park Community Church, which, sources speculate, he was planning to sell on the internet. Since the arrest, the church appears to have been closed — its sign is covered and its website is no longer functioning.
"I was astonished. I really was," said Elaine Marshall, North Carolina's Secretary of State. "Last year, as a state total, we took in $14 million. This greatly exceeded it in one bust. One activity that we didn’t know about a couple of days ago until a tip came along, and just blew us out of the water on numbers."
One man who works at the nearby interfaith shelter was similarly stunned. "He borrowed some equipment of ours and he never brought it back so I kind of thought that was kind of odd when you’re right next door," he said. "I was telling a coworker of mine that there’s something weird about that guy." He also said that Lan had asked to throw away boxes in his dumpster, and wondered whether those boxes contained more counterfeit jewelry.
If convicted, Lan could face up to 3 years in prison.