Counterfeit goods a reality in Harwin Drive wholesale district - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

Counterfeit goods a reality in Harwin Drive wholesale district

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

To the naked eye this fake Louis Vuitton bag looks very authentic until you hear from an expert.

Mary Jane Wyatt also knows a thing or two about counterfeit products on the streets of Houston.

Wyatt says, "I also sold them in the streets stopping them just like selling dope they bought them just like dope."

After more than a decade of selling drugs and counterfeit luxury goods Mary Jane called it quits. But she says their is a thirst for fake Gucci and Prada in Houston.

"It's a growing market definitely it's becoming more and more available everyday and every where," says Wyatt.

Erika Wilson is a Houstonians who admits without any shame to buying fake luxury goods.

Wilson says, "to keep up with the Jones' so you can feel like you're high fashion and not necessarily to live above your means."

The most recent case of counterfeiting was a year long investigation here on Harwin. A couple from China was sentenced to 10 years in prison this week. That's after being caught with 14,000 pieces of luxury goods at their store in Houston

Richard Halverson with Homeland Security says, "big brand names such as Coach, Prada, Oakley...the total value of those products was over $2 million dollars."

Halverson says last year alone more than $23 million in counterfeit products were taken off the streets of Houston. He says they're also seeing a very deadly trend via the internet...People selling counterfeit medications.

Halverson says, "you don't know what you're buying....you may be putting the equivalent of sawdust in your mouth."

Halverson says Mary Jane's old habit hurt manufacturers, the tax base, and ultimately a loss in jobs...it's a good thing after a year in jail on a gun charge Mary Jane is no longer pushing fake Gucci bags.

"I chose to live a different lifestyle now," says Wyatt.

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