‘Criminal couponer’ tricked shoppers, robbed stores for $31.8 million

Written by on October 26, 2021

A Virginia Seaside girl who bought $31.eight million value of counterfeit coupons to customers used the cash to pay for high-end dwelling renovations and holidays, in line with new info launched by the FBI.

Lori Ann Talens, 41, was sentenced to 12 years in jail final month after pleading responsible to mail, wire and well being care fraud. Her husband, Pacifico Talens Jr., 43, was sentenced to greater than seven years in jail for his position in supporting the scheme. 

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In line with the FBI, Talens used the income to purchase high-end dwelling renovations together with an in-ground swimming pool, a brand new sunroom and a brand new kitchen. Her household additionally loved purchasing, consuming out and high-end holidays at a deep low cost.

Lori Ann Talens' home had thousands of counterfeit coupons, rolls of coupon paper, and coupon designs for more than 13,000 products on her computer.

Talens, dubbed the “felony couponer,” by the FBI, used her graphic design abilities to control barcodes for coupons at almost any retailer within the nation. In whole, she collected $400,000 over three years from customers who used the coupons. She additionally used the coupons to assist finance a lavish way of life.

In a search of Lori Ann Talens’ dwelling, FBI brokers discovered about $1 million value of counterfeit coupons, rolls of coupon paper and coupon designs for greater than 13,000 merchandise on her pc.

“There have been coupons in each jacket pocket; they had been stuffed in her autos,” postal Inspector Jason Thomasson stated within the FBI press launch. 

Talens, who used Fb and Telegram to seek out coupon customers, was in a position to keep away from authorities by utilizing encrypted communication companies to take care of her clients and by utilizing cryptocurrencies for funds. 

“If the coupons are rejected, if they’re counterfeit, then the retailer doesn’t receives a commission again for them,” FBI Particular Agent Shannon Brill within the press launch. “However that entire course of takes a whole lot of time. By the point a coupon will get recognized as being fraudulent or pretend, that coupon has already been used who is aware of what number of instances.”

Within the scheme, Talens used the net identify MasterChef and made counterfeit vouchers that “had been nearly indistinguishable from genuine coupons and had been typically created with inflated values, far in extra of what an genuine coupon would supply, with the intention to obtain objects from retail without cost or for a tremendously decreased worth,” in line with a press release from the Justice Division.

Talens shipped the counterfeit coupons utilizing the U.S. Postal Service and accepted fee by means of on-line fee strategies akin to Bitcoin and Paypal. Her husband assisted in transport the counterfeit coupons and profited from the gross sales, the FBI stated. 

The Talens’ scheme unraveled when certainly one of their clients reported them to the Coupon Info Heart, a coalition devoted to coupon integrity. The coupon middle acted as Talens’ buyer, bought coupons and later confirmed they had been counterfeit. The coupon middle then notified the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, which investigated the case.

Along with the fraudulent coupon ring, Talens defrauded Medicaid and the Supplemental Diet Help Program out of about $43,000 over 5 years by failing to report her husband’s employment revenue when making use of, the FBI stated. 

Contributing: Gabriela Miranda 

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