Buying Fake Designer Goods Could Lead to Jail Time, $1,000 Fine Under New Bill

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Buyer beware: Purchasing fake designer bags could soon land shoppers jail time or a fine.

Think you're getting that fake Louis Vuitton for next to nothing? Think again.

In news that may have us steering clear of New York City's Canal St. for good, a proposed bill by Chinatown councilwoman Margaret Chin could hit shoppers with jail time or a $1,000 fine if they are caught purchasing counterfeit designer wares, the New York Post reports.

Set to be introduced on April 27, the bill aims to clean up the area's reputation as a one-stop-shop for faux Gucci bags and "Fraudas," most of which go for a fraction of their retail price.

"We don't want to be known as the place to come to get counterfeit goods," Chin tells the paper, citing concerns that counterfeiters use the money to fund illegal activities. "It's a very big problem. People are still coming, and the industry is growing, and we have to stop the demand. We need people to know that they are feeding this demand." If passed, the bill would target those who are actually caught in the act of purchasing a counterfeit item. Chin says signs will be posted throughout the area to warn passersby of the new regulations.

Though some local business owners support the bill, police sources tell the paper it will be hard to enforce. Meanwhile, the threat of a $1,000 fine (which, in some cases, could mean paying more for a fake bag than you would for the real thing) doesn't seem to be deterring some shoppers.

"I'll take a risk and sacrifice to look good and pay less," Christine Gambino, carrying a $140 Louis Vuitton copycat, told the Post.

Still, Chin should find plenty of supporters for her bill at the April 26 Harper's Bazaar Fakes Are Never in Fashion Anticounterfeiting Summit, which claims that $512 billion in global sales are lost to counterfeiting each year. Can't tell the difference between a knockoff and a counterfeit? Refer to our handy guide.