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After an eight-month investigation, four women have been arrested in Kentucky for allegedly using fraudulent coupons to get more than $100,000 worth of products at Walgreens and Kroger stores.
Police say Tara Lybeck, 30; Harley Miller, 26; Lisa Williams, 32; and Mary Ann Dillon, 27 used the fake coupons at dozens of stores across Kentucky — and potentially other states.
They were taken into custody after being indicted by a Grand Jury earlier this month and face up to 10 years in jail if convicted.
Here’s what authorities are saying:
Police say that for more than two years, the women used coupons to resell diapers, food & more.
According to Coupons in the News, the women allegedly altered and used fake coupons they found online to get $100,000 worth of free or nearly-free items — like diapers, baby food, razors, and food — and would turn around and sell them on social media to make a profit.
Police say the fraudulent coupon use went on at Walgreens and Kroger stores in Hardin, Grayson, and Fayette counties for 26 months — between January 2018 and early 2020.
New or young cashiers were specifically targeted by the alleged fraudsters.
Instead of the cashiers being the perpetrators, they were reportedly the victims in this cast.
Elizabethtown Police Department spokesman John Thomas told Coupons in the News that the women sought out cashiers who’d be less likely to realize the coupons were fake.
Rather than contact management to verify the coupons, many of these cashiers just accepted them at face value.
Authorities don’t know who’s behind the fake coupons.
The police say they don’t suspect the women made the fake coupons themselves, but rather found them via social media.
Although investigators say there’s ample evidence that the couponing fraud took place in multiple states, federal investigators have so far declined a larger investigation to find the creators of the fake coupons.
Know how to spot a counterfeit coupon.
Counterfeit coupons typically have some of the following qualities:
- The coupon makes you serious cash (not $0.50 or $1.00, but $5+).
- The coupon requires you to pay something first before you can redeem it.
- The coupon comes with fees attached.
- The coupon has no expiration date.
- The coupon lacks pertinent details (size, quantity, brand name, et al).
- The coupon looks faded or poorly printed (like it’s a photocopy, not an original).
- The coupon has no verbiage noting that it is “void if sold” (nearly all coupons have this).
Learn more answers to the question, “Are You Committing Coupon Fraud?”.