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Former Hermès Employees Get Prison Time

Former Hermès Employees Get Prison Time

Former Hermès Employees Get Prison Time

On Thursday, a Paris criminal court delivered prison sentences to 10 people named in a case of counterfeit Hermès Birkin bags. The case identified seven former employees of the French luxury firm.

According to recent reports, three friends were at the center of the scheme to manufacture and sell the fake designer bags, two of whom had worked at Hermès, while the third dealt with the imports of crocodile skins from Lombardy in Italy, which was used to create counterfeit bags. Five other people, who had also been employed by Hermès provided hardware to decorate the bags and the other four were artisans who assembled the bags.

The trial originally took place between June 24 and June 26 at the Paris Criminal Court and the final verdict was announced three months later. Of all the sentences that were handed out, the toughest one was three years in prison and a €200,000 fine. At the time of sentencing, the defendant was not present.

Over the course of four years (between 2011 and 2014), seven former employees allegedly counterfeited around 148 bags, netting more than €4 million by selling them to consumers primarily in Hong Kong.

The counterfeit pieces were created with remaining fabrics, metal parts and tools that the employees were able to gather. The pieces were then sold for roughly €23,500 and €32,000, according to court documents which is roughly half of what a genuine version would retail for at the time.

The clan then took it a step further and created pieces under the “bon au personnel” provision, which allows Hermès employees to acquire the necessary materials to make their own bags, which are then required to have a shooting star stamp and are strictly for personal use.

The two other defendants received fines of 100,000 euros as well as prison sentences of up to three years, including a woman who sold the bags to Asian buyers, reported AFP.

Hermès originally asked for €2 million euros in damages but was only awarded €580,000.

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