Two people are facing charges after police say they were caught selling fake designer handbags at the Cornwall Fall Festival over the weekend. YNN's Meredith Zaritheny has more on how this links to funding terrorist organizations around the world.
CORNWALL, N.Y. -- Selling counterfeit designer goods is a $1 billion a year industry, once thought to be something you'd only find on Canal Street in the city. It has now made its way to Orange County.
"We did verify two individuals selling the bags, numerous designer knock offs counterfeit bags basically Michael Kors, Louis Vuitton, Tory Burch, Coach, Prada, one Hermes bag," said Chief Todd Hazard, Town of Cornwall Police Chief.
Cornwall Police say they arrested Harmeen Sawhney, 42, and Harry Finerow, 74, after they were caught trying to sell more than 300 knock off designer handbags at the Fall Festival.
"Well I think it is kind of prevalent around here in the area and I'm just finding this out myself now that it does go on quite a bit, you know outside of the city," said Richard Massimi, President of the Greater Cornwall Chamber of Commerce.
Cornwall Police say the street value of these counterfeit handbags in more than $12,000. They say this money goes to help fund terrorist organizations around the world.
"The bags, a lot of people feel they're innocent. Basically, they're ripping off the brands, employ a lot of people, they're hurting their workers and it also has roots in terrorism as far as the profits from the bags," said Chief Hazard.
Chief Hazard says these terrorist organizations have to find ways to make money and clean money and one way is counterfeit goods. Now, festival organizers say they're already considering making changes to prevent something like this from happening again.
"We were kind of surprised as everybody else by it, in the future we're going to be a little bit more careful about some of the vendors that come in," said Massimi.
Sawhney and Finerow are charged with trademark counterfeiting, which is a felony.