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Bridal Gowns In Discount

Wedding Dresses At Discount Are Sold By Government

Wedding Dresses At Discount

Rhonda Fitzgerald is getting married next fall, and a lot of the plans are still in the works.One thing she hadn’t counted on: Buying her wedding dress from the federal government.

While an Upper Marlboro woman was convicted in 2013 of embezzling more than $5 million from the nonprofit Association of American Medical Colleges, the U.S. Marshals Service seized her assets — including a bridal shop she owned.

That left the authorities with 2,000 gowns and other accessories, which the court ordered sold. They are selling them this week at a discount and donating the proceeds back to the nonprofit. A conference room at the hotel burst with bridal gowns, prom dresses, heels, glittery jewelry, veils and other accessories Wednesday, the first day of the sale.

Fitzgerald, 31, of Washington said she hadn’t done any previous wedding dress shopping beyond some “mild Pinteresting.” She climbed into an Uber back to D.C. on Wednesday afternoon carrying two gowns — she couldn’t decide between them — and a veil, all at a discount, for $1,100.

“It was a pretty successful stop-in,” she said, grinning.

Whichever dress she wears, Fitzgerald said, she’ll have a great story.”I can’t believe somebody would be so stupid as to open a bridal shop with stolen funds,” she said.

Wedding Dresses At Discount

Ephonia M. Green, 46, was sentenced last year to 46 months in prison.

Karen Warrior, regional director of personal property management for the federal General Services Administration, said Green’s Upper Marlboro bridal shop — Couture Miss Bridal & Formal — is only the second to be seized. Most forfeitures tend to be houses, cars, yachts and other prized possessions.

The government usually sells items via online auction, she said, but with wedding dresses, a local sale benefiting the nonprofit that had been swindled made more sense.

“We’ve had several happy brides this morning,” she said. She said the dresses were sold at discounts of 40 percent to 60 percent.

Anna Cobb, 17, stopped in Wednesday with her mother, Anita Massengale, to look for a dress to wear to her debutante ball in Bethesda in April.

Unlike Fitzgerald and Joy, Cobb and her mother have been dress-shopping for a long time. They said they’ve gone to 10 different stores, all without success.

“We’re on our way to New York if I don’t find something here,” Massengale said.

Cobb took a deep breath and said she hoped it wouldn’t come to that.

Wedding Dresses At Discount

The Takoma Academy senior’s blue prom dress, which she bought online, didn’t fit and had a 5-yard train — which she hadn’t counted on. She’s not taking any chances with the cotillion.

“I wanted to see it, touch it, try it on,” she said.

Cobb said the government’s sale was unorthodox but came “just in time.” Her debutante dress must be approved by Dec. 20.

Massengale held out a red Sherri Hill silk dress with a giant, shoulder-wide pink ribbon that flowed down the back.

“That’s too much,” her daughter said. Cobb thought they’d be back Thursday to look again.