The family that goes counterfeit couponing together, gets arrested together. And now the matriarch of an alleged counterfeit couponing clan has been ordered to repay a grocery store more than $2,000, in the first of two criminal couponing cases against her.

51-year-old Bonnette McNichol of Dover, Pennsylvania was nabbed last October. She was accused of using thousands of dollars in fake printable coupons at more than half a dozen Giant Food grocery stores over the course of nearly a year.

She also allegedly gave fake coupons to her son, stepson and each of their girlfriends, who are accused of using them to bilk several of the same stores out of thousands more dollars worth of groceries.

And McNichol’s husband allegedly cashed in on the scheme, by getting free gas from all the rewards points the family racked up by using their fake coupons to buy all that stuff. Together, in total, they’re accused of using more than $8,800 worth of counterfeit coupons.

All of them, aside from McNichol’s stepson, who was a minor, were charged with felony counts of theft by deception, conspiracy to commit theft by deception and receiving stolen property.

As the cases against McNichol’s family members make their way through the courts, McNichol’s case was the first to be resolved last week. After agreeing to pay $2,113.19 in restitution to Giant Food, plus $563.04 in court costs, the charges against her were dropped.

So let that be a lesson to you – if you use several thousand dollars worth of counterfeit coupons, and ply others with counterfeits so they can do the same, you might be forced to pay back the stores you defrauded and avoid any criminal charges altogether!

It’s not quite the deterrent that the coupon industry might prefer, as it warns couponers about the consequences of creating and using counterfeits.

But McNichol isn’t off the hook yet.

While awaiting the resolution of the counterfeit couponing case, McNichol apparently couldn’t resist going shopping with even more bogus coupons. A couple of months ago, she had her face plastered all over the media, when police distributed surveillance images taken at a local Walmart. They ultimately identified the woman pictured as McNichol, and charged her with using “numerous counterfeit coupons” at the self-checkout to get “in excess of $1,000” in overage that she applied toward Walmart gift cards.

That case is still pending. And the court may not look as kindly upon an alleged second offense – committed while awaiting punishment for her first offense.

The rest of her family has court dates scheduled throughout the next few months, as their cases are considered separately. And at least one of them is likely to claim ignorance. In a statement to police, McNichol’s son said he “asked his mother on multiple occasions if what they were doing was legal,” and “he was told each time that there was nothing wrong with what they were all doing… so he kept using the coupons even though he knew something didn’t feel right.”

Apparently mother doesn’t always know best. And this counterfeit couponing clan may end up learning that lesson the hard way.

2 Comments

  1. Joann Spangler says:

    Is it illegal to print coupons off the internet?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

Privacy Policy
Disclosure Policy