KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A Knoxville man is facing charges including money laundering after officers conducted a search of a clothing store, according to the Knox County Sheriff’s Office.
A spokesperson for the sheriff’s office said that on Tuesday, January 31, detectives with the office’s Organized Retail Crime Unit, Narcotics Unit, and Property Crimes Unit searched Britney’s Purse and Accessories, located at 2352 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. The store is operated by Vincent Jones, 64, of Knoxville, spokesperson Kimberly Glenn said.
According to Glenn, the search was conducted because of complaints that Jones was selling counterfeit items, considered intellectual property, which is a similar search that was conducted in 2018 at the same location. The 2018 search was for food stamp fraud, criminal simulation and computer offenses, Glenn said.
The investigation into this case appears to have been taking place since 2021 according to documents in the Knox County Court System’s records. The General Sessions Dockets stating the charges against Jones say that undercover detectives purchased a Gucci shirt and a Louis Vuitton face mask that were believed to be fake from the store on March 4, 2021. Detectives then sent pictures to the victims who confirmed that the items were counterfeit.
The narratives in the dockets state that on December 9, 2022, the victim went to the store and observed several counterfeit and trademark-labeled items being offered for sale, and they also bought an $85.00 Nike-labeled jumpsuit from the store. Allegedly, Jones did not add sales tax or provide a receipt and he conducted the cash transaction from a large amount of money that was in his pocket.
The records state that pictures and evidence were then sent to a trademark representative for the respective company, who then stated that the apparel was counterfeit. According to the dockets, the victim told detectives that they had recovered over $250,000 in counterfeit merchandise.
“Today, Mr. Jones was found to be operating the same business and selling similar items. The sale and purchase of these types of items not only affect the brand name’s reputation but have far-reaching impacts on lost profits, forced labor, human trafficking, and health concerns because the products are often poorly made or manufactured using dangerous or toxic chemicals and materials.” Glenn said.
Jones is charged with deceptive business practices, use of a counterfeit mark/logo and money laundering. A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for Feb. 17.