Counterfeiting Couple Sentenced to Prison After Carrying Out a $31.8M Fraudulent Coupon Scam

Talk about taking “couponing” to the ultimate extreme! A husband and wife duo was sentenced to prison for carrying out a counterfeit coupon scheme estimated at $31.8 million.

Lori Ann Talens and her husband Pacifico Talens Jr. of Virginia Beach were accused of concocting the multi-million dollar scam. Lori is accused of being the mastermind who learned how to manipulate bar codes and create fake coupons that would work for any and almost everything.

“She trained herself in the different techniques she needed to manipulate barcodes to make these coupons work,” said FBI Special Agent Shannon Brill.

“She had coupons for $24.99 off a $25 box of diapers. And it would work,” wrote Postal Inspector Jason Thomasson in the FBI’s statement. “And you’d have people walking out the door with those diapers for almost nothing.”

So how did they get caught? The Coupon Information Corporation initially tipped off Postal Inspector Jason Thomasson saying they believed a Virginia Beach resident was making and mailing counterfeit coupons. An investigation was later launched, and when the couple was served a search warrant, investigators found fraudulent coupons totaling more than $1 million “in every crevice.”

“There were coupons in every jacket pocket; they were stuffed in her vehicles,” said Thomasson.

They also found designs on Lori’s computer that allowed her to create coupons for more than 13,000 products.

Not only did Lori use the counterfeit coupons, but she also sold them online to groups of people who found her through social media. From that alone, she made about $400,000. Lori paid for home renovations, including a new kitchen, sunroom, and in-ground swimming pool with her earnings. In addition, she took her family on trips, shopped, and dined out while paying little or nothing.

In the end, Lori was sentenced to 12 years in prison and her husband Pacifico was sentenced to seven years for knowingly profiting off of the operation.

 

About Simone

Simone is an award-winning communications professional with over seven years of experience. Her passion for writing has led her to serve as Editor-in-Chief at Baller Alert. In her free time, she enjoys trying new restaurants and traveling to (mostly) tropical destinations.

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