New details have emerged surrounding a $31.8 million counterfeit coupon scheme that landed an extreme couponer in prison for 12 years.
In a press release on October 21st, the FBI revealed that investigators found fake coupons in “every crevice” of Lori Ann Talens and Pacifico Talens Jr.’s home. Totaled up, the fake coupons would equal more than $1 million in savings.
On Lori Ann’s computer, investigators found coupon designs for more than 13,000 products.
“She trained herself in the different techniques she needed to manipulate barcodes to make these coupons work,” said Special Agent Shannon Brill in the FBI press release.
Lori Ann is the mastermind of the scheme, as she created the fake coupons herself. Quite brazenly, the coupons she created were for discounts “near or even over” the item’s retail value.
Despite creating the coupons at her home, Lori Ann didn’t use them for herself. Instead, she sold them online, communicating with her customers via an encrypted messaging app.
The extreme couponer was paid over $400,000 using digital currencies like Bitcoin, and sometimes “exchanged coupons for stolen rolls of the special paper stores use to print out coupons,” according to the FBI.
The scheme went on for three years, and was eventually uncovered by the Coupon Information Corporation after they received a tip about an individual making and mailing fake coupons.
Just one group of manufacturers has reported losing $125,000 from fake coupons connected to Lori Ann Talens.
The Department of Justice reports that, in September 2021, Lori Ann was sentenced to 12 years in prison for “perpetrating a counterfeit coupon fraud scheme” that totaled approximately $32 million in losses for retailers and manufacturers.
In a statement, Lori Ann Talens said that she was “deeply ashamed and embarrassed” by her actions.
Alongside Lori Ann, her husband was sentenced to 7 years in prison for being aware of and profiting from the scheme.
The couple spent the money that they earned through the scheme on high-end home renovations, including a new pool and a kitchen remodel, as well as lavish vacations.