Central Bakersfield

Guilty: Man blamed Bakersfield's appetite for buying counterfeits

Guilty: Man blamed Bakersfield's appetite for buying counterfeits
Bakersfield businessman Eric Huggins does not deny that at one time he sold counterfeit purses at his business, Girlfriends By Design. (2011 file photo)

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — A Bakersfield shop owner has pleaded guilty to a federal charge of trafficking in counterfeit goods.

Eric Huggins, 53, entered the plea Tuesday, according to prosecutors. He's slated for sentencing in September and faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $2 million fine.

Huggins owned a shop called Girlfriends by Design and sold counterfeit clothing and accessories bearing labels of well-known designer brands, such as Chanel, Coach, Prada, Adidas and Reebok.

Huggins admitted in a Feb. 15, 2011, interview with Eyewitness News that he once sold counterfeit purses at Girlfriends by Design on Ming Avenue and on the streets out of his vehicle. He denied selling widespread counterfeit merchandise, as claimed by federal investigators.

"I knew the purses were fake," Huggins told reporter Jose Gaspar at the time.

Huggins went on to say, "Bakersfield is big for buying (fakes). If they weren't so big on buying 'em, we wouldn't be so big on wanting to sell them."

Federal investigators claim they seized approximately $140,000 in counterfeit items.

In the plea agreement, Huggins admitted to trafficking in counterfeit goods from February 2009 through January 2011. Huggins owned stores on Ming Avenue and 19th Street.