Man imported $80,000 in bling gets dinged $11,000

A man who tried to smuggle more than $80,000 worth of designer handbags and high fashion through Vancouver International Airport, was dealt an expensive lesson in Richmond provincial court.

Richard Ante was fined $11,000 after pleading guilty to attempting to evade duty on goods including clothing and handbags valued at $80,801.

Ante returned to Vancouver after a trip that saw him visit Rome and Paris for 11 days.

He used the automated border clearance to declare $550 in purchases, but at the baggage carousel he was approached by a roving Canada Border Services officer.

It turned out this was Ante's third trip to Europe in six months, and when border officers examined his luggage, they found invoices for purchases made by Ante during his trip.

As well, the officers were able to identify a number of high-valued items, including clothing, wallets, handbags, scarves, belts and gloves, some of which were wrapped in Hermes store packaging.

Roughly half of the items seized were new, while other items had been previously imported.

Ante said he didn't declare the goods because "it was too expensive."

Aside from the hefty court fine, Ante will have to cough up an administrative penalty that will range from $20,000 to as much as $64,000 for the return of the items

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