Couple Headed To Prison For $32 Million Coupon Scam

( A couple in Virginia Beach, Virginia, has been sentenced to almost 20 total years in jail for their role in a massive coupon scheme that resulted in manufacturers and retailers losing almost $31.8 million.

On Monday, CNN Business reported the FBI released new details about the counterfeit scheme that involved Lori Ann Talens and Pacifico Talens Jr., her husband.

According to a press release the FBI released last week, fake coupons were found in almost “every crevice” of the Talens’ home when investigators searched it.

The gains the couple made from the counterfeit coupons netted them approximately $1 million in savings. In addition, Lori Ann Talens was paid roughly $400,000 for selling the coupons to other people.

Investigators said when they searched the home, they found coupon designs on Talens’ computer. In total, there were designs for more than 13,000 products that were found on the computer for Lori Ann, who apparently was the mastermind behind the entire operation.

She allegedly created the counterfeit coupons and made them worth a value that was either equal to, and sometimes even greater than, the retail value of the actual item.

In the FBI release, Shannon Brill, a special agent, said of Lori Ann Talens:

“She trained herself in the different techniques she needed to manipulate barcodes to make these coupons work.”

The FBI has said that Talens didn’t actually use the coupons for herself. Instead, she sold them to people who she found on some social media channels. Once she connected with interested parties, she then communicated with them on an app that had encrypted messages.

In total, she received more than $400,000 in bitcoin and other digital currencies in exchange for the counterfeit coupons. Sometimes, the FBI said Talens even “exchanged coupons for stolen rolls of the special paper stores use to print out coupons.”

The scheme was conducted over three years, the FBI said. It was only discovered after the Coupon Information Corporation was given a tip that somebody was making and then mailing counterfeit coupons.

One of the manufacturers that was a target of the scheme said it lost upwards of $125,000 from the fake coupons that have since been linked to Talens’ scheme.

Back in September, Talens received a sentence of 12 years in prison. The Department of Justice said she received that sentence for “perpetrating a counterfeit coupon fraud scheme” that ultimately resulted in manufacturers and retailers losing $32 million.

Her husband, Pacifico Talens Jr., was also sentenced to spend seven years in jail, because he profited from his wife’s scheme and was aware of its existence the entire time.

The DOJ said that the Virginia Beach couple used the money they received from the coupon scheme to pay for renovations to their home that included a kitchen remodel project as well as adding a new pool.

The New York Times obtained a copy of a statement from Lori Ann Talens that said she was “deeply ashamed and embarrassed” by what she had done.