A disheartening number of coupon crime cases seem to end with the suspect getting slapped on the wrist, dismaying manufacturers, retailers and honest couponers alike.

But not this one.

A man convicted of using counterfeit coupons to steal about a thousand dollars from a Georgia Walmart has been sentenced to five years in prison without the possibility of parole, and ten years of probation.

30-year-old Kadar Dabir Zaid of Duluth, Georgia pleaded guilty this week to 22 counts of forgery and two counts of obstruction of a law enforcement officer. He was arrested back in May, after loss prevention officers called police as he and an accomplice were scanning items at self-checkout registers.

The accomplice was “scanning some travel size Dove bar soaps and bagging other items without paying for them,” the police incident report reads. “He continually looked around left and right in a nervous manner.” Loss prevention officers told police “he had been at this register for a very long time.”

Zaid “was at another self checkout register and was observed scanning a single deodorant item and bagging others,” the report goes on.

A third man appeared to be acting as a lookout and collaborator, going back and forth between the two registers, taking and accepting items from the two men.

As the three suspects finished up and started to leave, suspicious police officers approached them – and the suspects took off. Two of the men fled the store, but Zaid “ran back into the store” and “began throwing receipts out of his pockets as he ran.” He eventually ran into the parking lot, ignoring police orders to stop – so an officer Tasered him.

And that got him to stop.

Zaid was taken into custody, while the two others got away. Investigators then got to work piecing together exactly what the men were up to.

Police recovered the receipts Zaid had tossed away, and found him in possession of several Mastercard and Walmart gift cards. Two of the gift cards had $10 printable Dove coupons taped to the back, with only the bar codes exposed where the gift card’s bar code should have been visible.

It turns out that Zaid was scanning Dove travel-sized products worth 97 cents, four at a time. Then he would scan the bar code for the $10 coupon that was taped to the back of one of the gift cards four times, giving him $35.89 in overage, after tax, for each transaction. He then “entered some numbers” and swiped another gift card, onto which he loaded his overage.

Zaid “did this time and time again,” the police report states, “and when he had a pocket full of loaded gift cards, he handed them off to another unidentified male to use at the self-checkout next to the suspect.”

Investigators and loss prevention officers tried to recreate the fraud, using the same Dove items and the same $10 coupon. But each time, the self-checkout register beeped and asked for a manager’s intervention. The same thing happened when they tried to load their overage onto a gift card. That led investigators to conclude that “the suspect may have had a supervisor’s override code.”

And, unsurprisingly, the $10 coupon turned out to be a fake. Investigators conducted a Google search, and found the identical coupon pictured on a counterfeit coupon notice posted just a week earlier on the Coupon Information Corporation’s list of known counterfeits.

“This case is another clear demonstration of the value of CIC’s Public Service Announcements, both as a law enforcement and a loss prevention tool,” CIC Executive Director Bud Miller told Coupons in the News.

The total loss to Walmart was $1,195.48. Zaid was convicted of 16 counts of forgery that he committed himself, and six as a party to the crimes of his accomplice, in addition to the two charges of obstructing a law enforcement officer, for running from the police.

Zaid has previously done time in Michigan for theft-related charges. Based on his criminal history, he will be required to serve his full 5-year prison sentence without the possibility of parole. After he’s released, he could find himself back behind bars if he violates the terms of his 10 years of probation. He was also banned from all Walmart locations, and ordered not to have contact with any of his accomplices, who remain at large.

“I would like to thank the law enforcement officers who apprehended Zaid, the Walmart professionals who detected and reported Zaid’s illegal activities, and the CIC Members who worked with law enforcement to bring this case to a successful conclusion,” Miller said in a statement. “Walmart’s efforts on this case are an excellent demonstration of how training and dedication can address counterfeit coupon challenges.”

Prosecutors say they hope Zaid’s hefty sentence will help serve as a deterrent to others. A potential five-year prison sentence will give other shoppers something to think about, when deciding whether to commit coupon fraud. As for Zaid – he now has plenty of time to think about his decisions as well.

Image sources: Michigan Department of Corrections / JeepersMedia

4 Comments

  1. Future of retail says:

    Robots are coming!!!! No more human error…

  2. Of course it beeped when they tried to recreate it because you have to do it in an exact order, with certain kinds of cards, and etc… At my old job I could spot these fraudsters by how they scanned and acted.

  3. Serves him right. Probably has done it elsewhere as well, just not caught.

    Five years excessive? No. Not at all.

  4. Craig Moore says:

    I know this is theft and that the suspect ran, but 5 years in prison is excessive.

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