New details are coming to light from the FBI on a Virginia Beach, Va., couple’s counterfeit coupon scheme worth $31.8 million in losses to retailers and manufacturers that landed the two in prison for nearly 20 years altogether, CNN Business reported on Monday.
Fake coupons were reportedly found in “every crevice” of the home of Lori Ann and Pacifico Talens Jr., according to a press release issued last week.
CNN reported that the couple’s counterfeits gained them more than $1 million in savings and that the investigators found designs for coupons for more than 13,000 products on the computer of Lori Ann Talens, considered the mastermind behind the operation that falsified coupons with discounts that were equal to or greater than an item’s retail value.
“She trained herself in the different techniques she needed to manipulate barcodes to make these coupons work,” said special agent Shannon Brill in the FBI release.
CNN reported that the FBI said that Lori Ann Talens did not use the fraudulent coupons for herself but instead sold them to subscribers who found her via social media and communicated with them via an encrypted messaging app.
She was paid more than $400,000 through digital currencies such as bitcoin, and she sometimes traded her imitation coupons for stolen rolls of the special paper stores use to print coupons, according to CNN.
The sham coupon ruse lasted three years and was uncovered by an agency known as the Coupon Information Corporation, which reportedly received a tip.
Lori Ann Talens was sentenced last month to 12 years in prison for “perpetrating a counterfeit coupon fraud scheme.” Pacifico Talens Jr. was sentenced to seven years due to his awareness and self-gain in the ploy, reports CNN.