Saturday, October 23

Virginia woman and husband stole $ 31 million in shopping coupon, SNAP and Medicaid fraud

Scammers sent fake coupons through the United States Postal Service (USPS)

Cindy Ord / Getty Images

A Virginia woman will serve 12 years in prison for spearheading a coupon fraud scheme that cost retailers and manufacturers more than $ 31 million in losses.

In what is considered the largest fraudulent scheme of its kind ever discovered in the United States, Lori Ann Talens and her husband they used networks like Facebook and Telegram, between April 2017 to May 2020, to sell the fake coupons.

According to the statement from the Attorney General’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, the woman who called herself “MasterChef” in cyberspace and used his computer to design, create and produce a variety of fake coupons from home.

These documents did not differ from the originals, and were usually created with inflated value to get free or reduced-price retail items.

Through social media platforms, women I entered groups to sell the fake material.

Convicta used USPS to send the fake coupons

As part of the scheme, the 41-year-old convict sent the coupons through the United States Postal Service (USPS) and other commercial delivery companies.

The woman accepted payments through different online payment methods, including Bitcoin and Paypal.

Husband collaborated in coupon sales scheme

Her husband, Pacifico Talens, 43, was aware of the “modus operandi,” and collaborated with it by sending fake coupon packages and performing other administrative duties.

The scheme was discovered when one of the scammers’ victims reported the situation to the Coupon Information Center (CIC), a coalition that watches over the official status of this system. The CIC purchased coupons from the Talens to confirm they were not authentic and contacted the USPS inspection service for further investigation.

$ 1 million worth of coupons seized

After corroborating the fraud, Federal agents raided the couple’s home. There they confiscated coupons valued at close to $ 1 million dollars in total. Additionally, a review of the family computer revealed $ 13,000 images of coupons in the design phase.

In another separate scheme, between November 2015 and February 2020, the female defrauded the Medicaid program and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Lori Ann Talens applied for benefits under both government programs and she hid both her income and her husband’s in order to be eligible. The total losses for Medicaid and SNAP were approximately $ 43,000.

Both defendants pleaded guilty to mail fraud last April. The woman also pleaded guilty to wire and health care fraud.

The man was sentenced last month to seven years and three months in jail.

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Florida woman charged with fraud of $ 12,407 to the SNAP and Medicaid food stamps program

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