House Arrest: At the time of her indictment, Amy owned a house in Highland Park, vacation homes in Oregon and Baja California Sur, and a private residence at the lodge her father owned in Alaska. Elizabeth Lavin

Crime

Amy Herrig’s $40 Million Mistake Almost Cost Her Life in Prison

The Highland Park mom and Gas Pipe heir got off with a lot less. The question is, does the punishment fit the crime?

Back in October, I was chatting with a friend of mine who owns an independent publishing company in town. I asked her what books she had coming out, and she mentioned a Jewish cookbook by a local accountant and a memoir by Amy Herrig, the daughter of the owner of the Gas Pipe head shop chain, who had been facing life in prison for the over-the-counter sale of K2, also known as spice. I had read a little about the criminal trial in the Dallas Morning News, but I didn’t know much, so I reached out to Amy to see if she’d be interested in meeting for coffee.

While working for her father, Amy had generated more than $40 million in revenue from spice, which her staff manufactured using KitchenAid mixers and bus tubs in the back room of a warehouse on Maple Avenue. When I first met with her on the Union’s coffee shop patio, the Highland Park mother of twins was waiting to find out how many years she was going to have to serve in prison – not for dealing drugs, which she was acquitted of, but for mislabeling them. It turned out to be quite a twisty tale of what happens when greed meets a legal loophole.

You can read the story here and in the July issue of D. It is online today.

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