Thanks to Budget Savvy Diva for sharing this post with us! I’m so glad that justice has been served and people can realize that fraudulent coupon use and production is illegal! You will be fined and charged for using coupon illegally.
Lucas Townsend Henderson, 22, known as “The Coupon Guy”, Coupons Thumb was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation yesterday and charged with counterfeit coupon related crimes (wire fraud and trafficking in counterfeit goods). Henderson allegedly distributed counterfeit coupons and an instruction manual on how to make counterfeit coupons via a website best known for child pornography and racist and anti-Semitic images. Many of the website’s participants engaged in active discussions about how to best exploit the counterfeit coupons and what kinds of excuses to use if caught. If convicted, Henderson faces up to 30 years in prison and financial penalties
Henderson spent the last several years at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), majoring in computer science with a focus on computer security and forensics. He worked at RIT’s Information & Technology Services’ Help Desk. Ironically, Henderson’s resume includes a reference to taking a class entitled Ethics in IT. It is our hope that RIT will take appropriate actions.
“How to Make Coupons,” a 45-page tutorial on designing coupons that would “scan at most any store in the U.S.,” thus tricking retailers.
The manual opens with a page listing “The 6 Commandments of Coupon Making,” including the admonition that the tutorial not be uploaded “to any permanent hosting.” Instead, the document should be shared on “anonymous image boards” (like 4chan) where “posts expire after a period of time.” Placing the tutorial at a permanent online location “makes it much easier for companies and moral assholes to come across them and warn stores about them.”
According to a U.S. District Court complaint sworn by FBI Agent Andre Cicero, the bureau has been probing the distribution over the Internet of counterfeit coupons designed to look like ones offered on smartsource.com, which is produced by News America Marketing, a subsidiary of Murdoch’s media conglomerate.
See tips on How to Spot a Fake Coupon here
What are the penalties for coupon fraud?
Longest prison sentence: 17 years
Highest financial penalty: $5 million
Prison sentences of three to five years are not uncommon. Financial penalties generally vary, but have often been in excess of $200,000.
Don’t forget to watch for Fake Coupon Warning’s as they arise.