Couple allegedly nets $1 million from fake coupon scheme

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FILE – In this July 14, 2021 file photo, pedestrians pass the Macy’s store in the Downtown Crossing shopping area, in Boston. Americans cut back on their spending last month as a surge in COVID-19 cases kept people away from stores. Retail sales fell a seasonal adjusted 1.1% in July from the month before, the U.S. Commerce Department said Tuesday, Aug. 17. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NewsNation Now) — The FBI reports a Virginia Beach couple has been busted running a counterfeit coupon scheme that cost retailers in the range of $31 million. Enforcement teams reported finding $1 million in coupons stored in “every crevice of the house.”

Legal analyst Angela Cendalla joined “Morning in America” to explain how the scam worked.

She said the wife, “created a Facebook group and sold coupons to people by referral only and received digital payment in response.” The couple didn’t use the fake coupons themselves, Cendella said, they sold them. The barcodes on the coupons scanned perfectly, so cashiers never had cause to doubt that the coupons being presented were authentic.

The woman’s husband is going to jail for 7 years for mailing the coupons, which is a federal crime.

While the couple have been ordered to pay back the money the coupons cost retailers, their actual profit from the scheme was in the neighborhood of $1 million, according to Cendella.

She said the money lost to the fake coupons is unlikely to be retrieved, but that consumers can ultimately pay the price for such fraud by seeing higher prices at the register.

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