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Coral Gables Woman Charged In Designer Handbag Scam

CORAL GABLES (CBSMIAMI) —- A Coral Gables woman is charged with defrauding T.J. Maxx out of thousands of dollars by turning in counterfeit designer handbags and claiming they were the original ones and getting huge refunds.

A federal complaint obtained by CBS4's Peter D'Oench says that Meghana Rajadhyaksha has been investigated since November 2017 and was arrested Tuesday on charges of mail and wire fraud. She was reportedly released on $250,000 bond.

The complaint says Rajadhyaksha would order designer handbags worth up to $2,000 using PayPal and would make credit purchases.

The complaint says, "T.J. Maxx had reported that since, in or around November 2017 through the present, Rajadhyaksha has placed dozens of orders for and received original handbags which were later returned with substitute handbags to trigger refunds to Rajadhyaksha."

Investigators became suspicious because of the amount of bags being returned.

The complaint says they developed a scheme using ultraviolet (invisible) ink as a way of tracking the bags that were ordered.

The complaint said, "T.J. Maxx investigators cataloged, photographed and/or marked with UV ink dozens of handbags ordered by Rajadhyaksha...T.J. Maxx evaluated the bags returned...none of the returned bags contained the UV ink marking on the interior of the original handbags."

The complaint says Rajadhyaksha was recently captured on surveillance tape on March 13th at a UPS store at 1172 South Dixie Highway shipping packages.

A store manager said he could not release that tape to CBS4.

It is not clear how Rajadhyaksha was reportedly able to get credit for the original designer handbags when counterfeit ones were turned in and what documents or receipts she might have used.

A spokesman for T.J. Maxx said it would be inappropriate to comment because of the investigation.

D'Oench tried to reach Rajadhyaksha for comment but the home on Riviera Drive is gated and no one was seen outside the home on Friday.

Neighbors said there were a lot of federal agents around the home on Tuesday when Rajadhyaksha was arrested and they say a SWAT team was even on the scene. They said the agents had been "staking out" the home.

The neighbors who did not want to be identified also said the home for more than a year had received a lot of boxes delivered by UPS.

Rajadhyaksha's attorney Christopher Lyons said in a statement, "She is extremely distraught and is focusing on the well-being of her family. She is grateful for all the support she has received from her family and friends during this difficult time."

It is not known where the counterfeit handbags were purchased and what happened to the original designer handbags.

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