CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) – Last week a Chapel Hill pastor was charged with selling bogus Cartier bracelets.
On Wednesday, CBS 17 heard from a man who attended that pastor’s church for the first time.
Trademark Enforcement Agents arrested JianGang “Frank” Lan, 34, after they found more than $24 million worth of phony Cartier bracelets inside the Deer Park Community Church.
Lan was a pastor at the church.
“I’m shocked that he got caught doing something like that,” said Joe Kachuck, who took Chinese classes at the church. “I didn’t see anything like that. There wasn’t any jewelry or anything anywhere around that place it was all kind of beat up like crappy and old. I didn’t see them showing money in anyway. You wouldn’t look at those people and think they had money.”
Just a couple days later, the church was shut down and their website is no longer working.
“I went up there a couple of times and nobody was at the door during the scheduled classes so it kind of just answers the question of what happened to them to me,” said Kachuck.
Kachuck says Lan was his Chinese teacher.
“He was just like super friendly just tried to help me learn Chinese. Didn’t try to push her religion. Didn’t try to say you owed him anything for taking this class, just thank you for coming.”
Despite police saying Lan was had more than 3,000 counterfeit Cartier bracelets, Kachuck says Lan never tried to sell him one.
“Nobody tried to sell me jewelry or even talk about jewelry,” said Kachuck. “They’d ask for a $5 donation so that they could have money to print out the resources. It doesn’t fit at all. I just figured they went bankrupt and couldn’t afford to keep the church open.”
The knockoff Cartier bracelets have an estimated retail value of $24.4 million if they were genuine trademarked jewelry, the North Carolina Secretary of State’s Office said.
Lan is charged with felony criminal use of a counterfeit trademark.
He is out on bail, but could face more than three years behind bars.
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