Man charged in sale of junk jewelry to retailer

A Glencoe, Ill., man was accused of repackaging junk costume jewelry as designer-made bracelets, necklaces and earrings, then peddling them to a retailer who unwittingly sold thousands of them to the public, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Ross Marks, 37, of the 600 block of Sunset Lane, Glencoe, was arrested Thursday, Sept. 30 and appeared the following day in Cook County Court on charges of manufacture and possession of counterfeit trademarks, the newspaper reports. He was released after posting $5,000 bail.

Cook County Sheriff Michael Sheahan on Friday, Oct. 1 reportedly announced Marks’ arrest and the confiscation of about 60,000 pieces of cheap jewelry from Marks’ now-closed business, Division Sales, located in a warehouse at 30 E. Oakton St. in Des Plaines. Sheahan reportedly displayed dozens of the confiscated items, which were packaged in individual plastic envelopes marked with the Monet, Napier, or Nine West designer labels.

Sheahan reportedly said sales of counterfeit name-brand products are observed occasionally at flea markets and second-hand stores.

“This is the first time we’ve seen counterfeit merchandise sold at established retail stores,” Sheahan reportedly said.

“Marks made bulk purchases of junk jewelry costing 99 cents to $4.99 per piece,” Sheahan reportedly said. “He had eight or 10 employees running an assembly line, putting the junk jewelry in (designer-labeled) bags and packaging the bags in boxes.”

Sheahan reportedly said jewelry and records were taken from Marks’ warehouse in April by sheriff’s police executing a search warrant. He reportedly said the records indicated Marks sold about a million pieces of jewelry to the Tuesday Morning retail chain based in Texas, which in turn sold them to the public through its 500 stores, including 15 in Illinois. The individual envelopes bore “suggested retail” prices of about $30 to $50 each, roughly the price of those designer items in large department stores, investigators reportedly said. Sheahan reportedly said the Tuesday Morning stores sold the items at far more than the items were worth.

He reportedly said the alleged scam came to investigators’ attention through a tip. He said Marks also sold numerous other legitimately labeled products, from clothes to coloring books, before the warehouse closed in August.

Sheahan reportedly said the designer labels have filed suit in Texas civil courts, seeking damages from Tuesday Morning.