The FBI took down a couple criminal masterminds recently, making the world a whole lot safer,,, for shoppers looking for a deal.
A couple in Virginia Beach were running a coupon scheme. A big one, valued at almost $32 million that is going to put the couple in prison for almost 20 years combined.
The FBI raided the house belonging to Lori Ann Talens and her husband Pacifico. Inside they found a Trevor trove of fake coupons. According to the FBI they found them in “every crevice” of the house.
The coupons in the house were worth over $1 million in fraudulent saving. The FBI took a deep dive into Lori Ann’s computer and lo and behold, they found coupons for over 13,000 products there.
Here’s a statement from the FBI about the coupon cons. “She trained herself in the different techniques she needed to manipulate barcodes to make these coupons work.”
Imagine if she used some of those creative and entrepreneurial skills for something legit.
The scam went down like this. Lori Ann was the brains of the operation. She would create fake coupons with discounts that were near or even over the retail value of the item.
They would sell the fraudulent coupons to subscribers that found her on social media, and she communicated with her subscribers with an encrypted messaging app.
As for how she printed the coupons on paper stock similar to the real coupons? She would get the paper by trading coupons for the special paper. She’s not stupid, she just got busted after three years or funning the scheme. The couple even took digital currency such as bitcoin for payments, over $400K worth of it.
They used some of the small fortune they took in to remodel their kitchen and put in a new pool.
A tip turned them in. She got 12 years in prison and her husband got 7.