Over-extreme couponers aren’t the only ones getting in trouble for coupon-related crimes. A Walmart employee now faces up to a year in jail for using coupons to scam her own store out of a quarter million dollars.
39-year-old Eileen Zimmerman of Graceton, Pennsylvania was sentenced on Friday to six to twelve months behind bars, followed by six years of probation. She’ll also have to pay back Walmart a grand total of $254,638.50.
And no, she can’t use coupons.
Coupons are what got her into this mess, anyway. Until her arrest in May 2012, Zimmerman was working at a Walmart in nearby Burrell Township, where she was in charge of balancing sales and submitting coupons for reimbursement at the end of the day. Starting around August 2010, police said Zimmerman began bringing in coupons from home, adding them to the mix and exchanging them for cash, which she then pocketed for herself.
It worked. So police said she started bringing in more coupons. And more, and more and more.
Eventually, store managers got suspicious, when they noticed that the number of coupons the store processed each day nearly tripled every time Zimmerman was working. On a typical day, the store would take in about $500 worth of coupons. When Zimmerman was in charge of tabulating them, the value of the day’s coupons would soar to more than $1,300.
Plus, police said Zimmerman started getting overconfident, as she started taking more money than the value of the coupons she brought in. When a coupon clearinghouse brought a $75,000 discrepancy to the store’s attention, management began investigating.
They looked at surveillance video of the back room, and saw Zimmerman “reaching into her jacket pocket and pulling out coupons that she had brought in,” in order to exchange them for cash, according to the police report. The video showed that she “would grab a clipboard, stand up, hold the clipboard over the money, then reach for the money with her left hand and place the money in her left pocket.”
Zimmerman’s attorney says she’s paid back Walmart about $5,700 so far, and has begun making monthly payments of $150. Only $248,938.50 and 138 years of monthly installments to go!
Walmart has been particularly hard hit with coupon-related crime lately. There was the recent case in which two women were arrested and sentenced for misusing coupons to get huge amounts of cash back (read: “Walmart Couponers Busted for Illegal Overage”). And there was the angry shopper who allegedly pulled a gun on Walmart workers who wouldn’t accept her coupon (read: “Misinformed Walmart Employee Allegedly Assaulted by Angry Couponer”).
As for Zimmerman, her attorney is asking if she can serve house arrest instead of jail time, so she can continue trying to earn money to pay off that huge bill. Since being relieved of her Walmart position, she’s started a new job at a local Subway – where, presumably, she’s not in charge of the coupons.
You may also like: