Washington, Sept 18, 2021 (AFP) – An American specialist in the counterfeiting of discount coupons was sentenced this week to 12 years in prison for causing damages of 31 million dollars to several companies (about R$ 160 million at the current dollar rate). ).
Lori Ann Talens, 41, “had staged what could be one of the top fake coupon scams in history” in the United States, according to prosecutors in charge of the case.
From an experience in this craft, Talens “perfected his art” to the point that investors had to resort to “experts to confirm the counterfeit character” of his works.
She created so-called “Frankenstein” coupons, putting together valid product images, company logos and barcodes on her computer.
“The only suspicious aspect of their coupons was the discount value,” 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 online customers and sold her fake promotional coupons across the United States, grossing a total of nearly $400,000.
Losses to the companies were estimated at $31 million.
A coupon “enthusiast” contacted her online but tipped off the police, putting an end to her small business.
Her husband, in charge of sending the vouchers, was sentenced to seven years and three months in prison.
Discount coupons have a particular weight in the United States, where they arouse a passion beyond the economic advantages, with dedicated websites, fan communities and even a reality show in 2011.