Jacqueline White and Crystal Travis allegedly passed at least 3,365 counterfeit coupons at various Stop & Shop supermarkets.
Two Taunton, Mass., women are facing felony criminal charges in the state’s Plymouth County for allegedly stealing almost $27,0000 worth of items from more than a dozen Stop & Shop stores in Massachusetts and Rhode Island as part of a counterfeit coupon scheme. The two were indicted by a grand jury in Brockton, Mass.
According to court documents, Jacqueline White, 41, and Crystal Travis, 40, passed at least 3,365 counterfeit coupons at supermarkets in East Providence, Smithfield and Pawtucket, R.I., as well as in Foxboro, Quincy, Weymouth, Raynham, Plainville, Whitman, Abington, Pembroke, Norwell, Hingham, North Dartmouth, New Bedford, Sandwich and Brockton, Mass.
Plymouth County District Attorney Tim Cruz noted that White and Travis created and purchased realistic-looking coupons between March and June that worked with Stop & Shop Rewards Program cards. These “counterfeit coupons … contained barcodes and graphic designs mirroring legitimate third-party vendor coupons,” alleged Cruz.
The fake coupons enabled the women to receive deep discounts on hundreds of products ranging from dish soap to laundry detergent, added Cruz. They then allegedly resold the products online at highly discounted prices, and subsequently bragged about their success on social media.
White and Travis received a warning back in April from the nonprofit Coupon Information Corp. (CIC) to stop passing counterfeit coupons or possibly face criminal charges, but apparently ignored it.
“Shoppers can easily protect themselves from coupon counterfeiters by never buying coupons,” advised Bud Miller, executive director of Alexandria, Va.-based CIC. “Coupon counterfeiters hurt honest consumers by making it more difficult for the industry to issue coupons and other money saving promotions.”
Added Miller, “We are pleased that several CIC technologies supported the case, including the CIC Suspect Coupon Checker App, and the CIC Early Warning File, both of which are available free of charge to retailers and law enforcement officials and help users to instantly identify counterfeit coupons known to the CIC.”
The women have each been charged with larceny by false pretenses and larceny to induce parting with personal property. White has also been charged with organized retail theft. Both women are scheduled to be arraigned in Brockton Superior Court at a later date.