Be careful where you get your coupons, they could be counterfeit. Selling fake coupons is big business for some people, but it landed three Arizona women in jail. After an eight-week investigation, Arizona police raided three homes in the Phoenix area and found $40 million worth of counterfeit coupons. Three women were arrested and are no longer living the life fantastic.
If you think drugs and cheating on taxes are the only thing people get busted for, think again. Time Magazine reports that the three women who were arrested are middle-aged and run a lucrative counterfeit couponing ring. According to police, the coupon-clipping trio were living a life of “opulence and the money was the equivalent of drug cartel-type of stuff.”
According to AZCentral.com, Phoenix police issued warrants on July 10 for 40-year-old Robin Ramirez, 42-year-old Amiko Fountain and 54-year-old Marilyn Johnson. All three ladies were arrested. Police tell ABC15.com that one of the suspects made at least $2 million a year with the operation.
Ramirez is reportedly the counterfeit coupon ring-leader and bought the bogus manufacturer coupons overseas and then sold them on a website, savvyshoppersite. The two other women who were arrested, Fountain and Johnson, are suspected of shipping the coupons and helping with the operations of the site.
“People who purchased the coupons could use them for items from major national manufacturers like Procter & Gamble, and could get cash back if the value of the coupon exceeded the item’s price. For example, homes said a person could use a $25 coupon to purchase a $15 bag of dog food and receive the difference in cash. He said people were buying multiple coupons for multiple items, and the costs add up quickly since the manufacturer has to reimburse the retailer.” – AZCentral.com
The coupon ladies were rolling in the dough from counterfeit coupon sales. Not only were fake coupons confiscated from the three women, police reportedly seized at least $2 million worth of assets from their homes. Time Magazine reports that this included $240,000 in vehicles, 22 guns, and a 40 foot speed boat.
Police report that Ramirez is held on a $450,000 cash-only bond and her partners in crime are being held on cash-only bonds of $250,000 each.
While there are no laws at this time that prohibit the sale or purchase of coupons, it’s not a smart move. There are a number of places to find legitimate coupons without risking the purchase of a fake one.
And selling coupons? Think about trading them with your friends and neighbors instead and don’t make the mistake of getting greedy and selling counterfeit coupons. You don’t want to end up in jail like the coupon ladies of Phoenix did.
Sources: Time, AZCentral, abc15.com (photo)