After becoming indicted by the U.S. Section of Justice for rates of illegal smuggling and conspiracy, Gonzalez, who is a Colombian citizen, was extradited before this year to the U.S. from Colombia in a joint effort concerning U.S. and Colombian authorities.
Gzuniga Ltd., the Colombia-primarily based enterprise that Gonzalez started out, was also named in the indictment, as have been two other individuals. Her legal group entered a guilty plea for Gzuniga for just one rely of conspiracy and two counts of smuggling for recurring illegal importation of designer handbags made from caiman and python skin from February 2016 to April 2019.
In adherence with the Convention on Intercontinental Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), to which both equally the U.S. and Colombia are signatories, python and caiman skin are safeguarded.
The designer’s unique pores and skin purses have captivated a movie star clientele like substantial-profile design and style setters like Victoria Beckham. As a indicator of her label’s status, it was mentioned in the 2006 American movie “The Devil Wears Prada,” when Anne Hathaway’s assistant character obtained a big trend overhaul, and Gonzalez’ signature handbags were being also featured in the 2010 film “Sex And The City 2.” Gonzalez’ layouts were being at one particular time a key source in 300 primary luxurious outlets including Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Lane Crawford, Harrods and Tsum.
Established in 1998 by Gonzalez, a mother of two, the company’s 1st assortment — 8 designs — debuted at Bergdorf Goodman. Her company’s website claimed that the bags ended up sourced from community artisans in her hometown of Cali, Colombia, and that virtually each individual member of her all-feminine group had been supplied with working day care for their little ones.
Her son Santiago Barberi Gonzalez, who died in 2017 at age 40, co-established the organization and served as president and chief executive officer. The luxurious add-ons label specialised in lively coloured types and ventured into collaborations with some top-notch artists including KAWS, Will Cotton, Jenny Holzer, Dr. Lakra and Jim Hodges.
Gonzalez’ legal professional Sam Rabin of Rabin & Lopez claimed Monday that Gonzalez experienced pleaded responsible “directly to her decide somewhat than negotiate with prosecutors. She did this because she has faith in our courts but not in the Office of Justice and its prosecutors who have treated her most unfairly. They took the equal of an elephant gun to a mosquito when a fly swatter would have sufficed.”
Rabin also claimed that the steps that ended up taken by the governing administration resulted in Gonzalez “being unnecessarily incarcerated in Colombia with drug sellers and terrorists for additional than a single yr although awaiting extradition to the United States, being place out of organization and her hundreds of workforce getting unemployed.”
Rabin claimed via e-mail, “Her crime was not obtaining the proper paperwork for some samples so she could fulfill deadlines to get her items to buyer’s demonstrates. All of the purses that ended up bought in retail shops have been properly documented. Less than 1 % of her purses were being imported without documentation. None of the animal skins employed in her products and solutions came from animals taken in the wild. The skins came from farm-elevated animals to ensure that they did not effects the population of animals in the wild.”
Gonzalez and the other defendants entered their guilty pleas Friday in the U.S. District Court docket in the Southern District of Florida. They will be owing again in courtroom for sentencing on Feb. 5. The 70-12 months-aged designer is likely struggling with up to 5 many years in prison on the conspiracy cost and up to 20 decades in jail on every of the smuggling fees, which could be adopted by a expression of supervised release.
Gonzalez is also facing opportunity fines of up to $250,000 on each individual rely, or two times the intended get from the suitable carry out, whichever is greater. In addition, Gzuniga faces possible fines of $500,000 on every of the 3 counts of conviction, or two times the supposed attain from the suitable carry out, whichever is greater.
Gonzalez and the other defendants allegedly solicited mates, kinfolk, and workforce of her manufacturing company in Colombia to act as couriers and transport the designer purses by carrying them or in their luggage even though touring on business airways. Just after arriving Stateside, the designer purses had been allegedly sent or shipped to the Gzuniga showroom in Manhattan, where by significant-close stores could purchase them to market them in their respective stores. Federal prosecutors have claimed that carry out concerned “hundreds” of Nancy Gonzalez purses, handbags and totes with an regular retail selling price of far more than $2,000.
An added defendant in the case was also extradited from Colombia and is awaiting demo. A fourth defendant is not at this time in custody.
In July 2022, a remarkable, songs-scored online video tweeted by Colombia’s lawyer typical earlier confirmed Gonzalez becoming escorted by authorities from a luxury enclave in Cali. The attorney general’s office environment claimed that the mission was the initial of its form in Latin America to deal with exotic pores and skin equipment.
Friday’s responsible pleas ended up unveiled by U.S. legal professional Markenzy Lapointe for the Southern District of Florida, the assistant legal professional standard Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Setting and Natural Means Division, and distinctive agent in demand Stephen Clark for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Assistance place of work of regulation enforcement, Southeast area.
In the meantime, individuals can locate Nancy Gonzalez handbags on resale web-sites like Poshmark, The RealReal and Fashionphile, among the many others — quite a few with discounted rates.