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Enfamil counterfeit coupon

‘Tis the season of giving, and a couple of convicted coupon criminals have inadvertently done a good deed for those in need. Hundreds of containers of baby formula seized in a coupon fraud case earlier this year, are now being donated to charities.

Police in White Lake, Michigan arrested Pennsylvania residents Mahmoud Raja and Anisoara Chilom back in February. The two were caught using counterfeit Enfamil “buy one get one free” coupons at two local Kroger stores.

Investigators say a loss prevention officer at a Kroger in nearby Waterford became suspicious when the pair used the coupons to buy “a large amount of baby formula”. So he followed them to their next stop – which turned out to be the White Lake Kroger, about six miles away.

There, the loss prevention officer reported that he witnessed Chilom load 14 cans of Enfamil into a shopping cart. She paid for it all with seven BOGO coupons and $91 in cash. The loss prevention officer called police, who searched the couple’s van and discovered more than 800 cans of formula inside, “stacks and stacks” of counterfeit Enfamil coupons, $10,000 in cash, and several GPS units (how better for a couple of out-of-towners to find the next closest grocery store to victimize?)

The police report notes that Chilom said she and Raja got paid $200 a week to buy the formula using the counterfeit coupons. Investigators suspect the scam is part of a much larger multi-state resale operation. For years, the Coupon Information Corporation has warned about the existence of the fraudulent Enfamil coupons, and urged that “retailers in the Midwest, particularly Ohio, Michigan, Indiana and Illinois should be on particular alert for this counterfeit.”

Chilom was ultimately convicted of retail fraud, and was sentenced in May to five days in prison and two years probation. Raja was convicted of counterfeiting, and was sentenced in August to six days in prison and two years probation.

And what about those 800+ cans of Enfamil?

Now that the case is closed, the formula is going to families in need. This week, White Lake police donated the confiscated cans to several local charities. “This means parents will have more formula,” one grateful recipient told the Oakland Press. “With food stamp cuts, it’s been harder for families.”

And in a nice twist, the Kroger loss prevention officer who caught on to the scam, was given some of the formula as a “thank you”. Turns out he and his wife are expecting a baby of their own.

For those who catch the criminals, at least, it seems that crime sometimes does actually pay.

3 Comments

  1. Ok waitaminnit! One person’s feel good story can actually be legalized theft?

    Is this a classic case of: “Steal from the rich and give to the poor?”
    That mdse was S*T*O*L*E*N goods. Somebody lost that mdse/money.
    The perp. was caught and the recovered stolen goods were given to an unrelated 3rd party? Damn!
    I hope I don’t get my car stolen in THOSE states-if it’s recovered, they might wind up ‘donating’ it to a more deserving party.

    • Always appreciate your perspective Barbee! I couldn’t confirm it because of the holiday, but I would not be surprised if they also had to pay restitution, which is common in cases like this – so the formula, in that sense, would have already been “paid” for. Otherwise, a few days in jail and probation seems like an awfully small price to pay.

      • Thanks for always being so patient and tolerant of my incessant pestering. It has been my experience that you can never take a story for face value-there’s always something *more*, some aspect that’s omitted, buried, or otherwise hidden that we’re not supposed to notice. (That’s probably why I always seem to ask questions which may seem like they’re from left field.) You’re really great. Thanks. 🙂

        I hope there was restitution-but what is restitution? (really). Nothing but a promise to pay at some future date. Harumph! Criminals making promises-no thanks! LOL. [Big Grin]

        On the flip side…far too many people in our society would call this a victimless crime. You know the meme: BIG corporation is evil, stealing from the consumer. yadda, yadda.

        Have a great week! Thanks for the interesting blog.

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