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Woman Jailed For 12 Years For Running $32 Million Counterfeit Coupon Scam

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Woman Jailed For 12 Years For Running $32 Million Counterfeit Coupon Scam

A US woman who sold almost $32 million (£23,236,640) worth of fake coupons has been jailed for 12 years.

Lori Ann Talens, 41, masterminded the 'staggering' operation, which involved her making and shipping tens of thousands of coupons to more than 2,000 customers, the FBI has said.

Talens, who lives in Virginia, had a background in marketing and strong computer design skills, meaning she was able to create a coupon for 'almost any grocery or drug store product and to make it for whatever value off she wanted'.

Postal Inspector Jason Thomasson said, as per the Daily Mail: "She had coupons for $24.99 off a $25 box of diapers. And it would work.

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"And you'd have people walking out the door with those diapers for almost nothing."

Coupons typically move from the local store to central coupon clearinghouses, which collects them and bills the manufacturer of the items for their value.

However, if they turn out to be fakes then the retailers miss out on the money.

Credit: Facebook
Credit: Facebook
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FBI Special Agent Shannon Brill explained: "If the coupons are rejected, if they are counterfeit, then the retailer doesn't get paid back for them.

"But that whole process takes a lot of time. By the time a coupon gets identified as being fraudulent or fake, that coupon has already been used who knows how many times."

As well as using her own coupons, Talens was selling to customers she found on social media sites including Facebook and Telegram.

She was paid around $400,000 (£290,458) over three years by her customers and used the cash to spruce up her house - including fitting a new kitchen and swimming pool - and going on holidays, shopping trips and enjoying meals out.

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In a statement, the FBI said they 'found fake coupons - worth more than $1 million (£726,015) - in every crevice of the house'.

Thomasson said: "There were coupons in every jacket pocket; they were stuffed in her vehicles."

They also found designs on her computer that she could use to create coupons for more than 13,000 different products.

Last month, Talens was sentenced to 12 years in prison for 'perpetrating a counterfeit coupon fraud scheme' and was ordered to pay $31.8 million (£23,091,411) in restitution to the retailers and manufacturers who suffered losses in her scheme.

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Talens' husband Pacifico Talens Jr was also convicted for supporting the scheme and sentenced to 87 months in prison.

Featured Image Credit: FBI

Topics: US News, crime

Claire Reid
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