Left Holding The Bag

Wednesday, September 22, 2010 - 2:09pm

Man busted selling counterfeit hand bags after calling cops to report being paid with counterfeit bills.

A Florida handbag vendor who went to police after he was duped with counterfeit $100 bills by a buyer found himself behind bars after the purses he was peddling were found to be counterfeit.

Joseph Reese, 55, was arrested by Miramar Police Monday and charged with possession of counterfeit products, authorities said.

According to police, Reese came to them after he received two $100 bills from a buyer who was interested in some of the high-end products he was selling, including Gucci and Dooney and Burke handbags, as well as designer sunglasses and wallets.

Reese had been selling the bags out of his car.

When police pressed Reese, they say he admitted the handbags and other accessories were counterfeits themselves.

He was arrested and released Tuesday on $3,500 bond.

"I didn't know it was illegal, " said Reese after his release. "That's why I called police."

Reese vehemently denied committing a crime, and said he did not know the merchandise was counterfeit and was selling it to make money.

Reese's wife Gloria also said she did not know it was crime.

"If I'm ordering them from China online why are they illegal," said Gloria Reese. " We don't do illegal stuff, and we didn't just go somewhere and smuggle them in."

Authorities confiscated almost 50 bags.

The merchandise would retail at close to $50,000, if they weren't designer rip-offs.

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