An American, who had elevated counterfeit coupons to the rank of art, was sentenced this week to 12 years in prison for causing losses of $ 31 million to several companies.
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Lori Ann Talens, 41, “had set up what could be one of the biggest bogus coupon scams in history” in the United States, according to prosecutors responsible for the case.
Based on an experience in the trade, she had “perfected her art”, to the point that the investigators had to resort to “experts to confirm the counterfeit nature” of her works, they still write in documents paid to the procedure.
At home, she created so-called “Frankenstein” coupons, by assembling product images, company logos and valid barcodes on her computer. “The only suspicious aspect of his coupons was the amount of the reduction,” equal to or greater than the value of the products, according to the documents.
From 2017 to 2020, under the pseudonym “Masterchef”, she recruited more than 2,000 clients online and sold her fake promotional coupons across the United States, raising a total of nearly $ 400,000.
Losses to businesses were estimated at $ 31 million.
An “enthusiast” of coupons, contacted her on the web, however, alerted the police, who put an end to his small business. Her husband, who was responsible for shipping the vouchers, was sentenced to seven years and three months in prison.
Discount coupons, “coupons” in English, have a particular weight in the United States, where they arouse a passion beyond their economic virtues, with dedicated websites, communities of admirers and even, in 2011, a reality show.