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Giant cashier arrested

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A former cashier at a Giant supermarket, who pulled off a “giant” supermarket scam, has been convicted and sentenced for stealing nearly $10,000 from her store by fraudulently ringing up nonexistent coupons and gift cards.

28-year-old Nicole Silver of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania was sentenced last week to four years probation, and she’ll have to pay back the money she stole.

Silver was arrested last September after investigators at her store, and subsequently police, exposed her scheme. Suspicious loss prevention officers noticed that Silver was conducting two particular, relatively rare, types of transactions far more often than any other cashier – accepting “missed coupons” after a sale, and refunding gift cards.

“Missed coupons” are those that you might forget you have, or that you forgot to bring, when paying for your groceries. If you’re timely about it, many stores will allow you to bring in those missed coupons with your receipt, and they’ll refund you the money as though you had used the coupons when you checked out in the first place.

Management at Silver’s store said the average number of “missed coupons” that its cashiers process is eight. Silver processed 34.

So loss prevention checked the security footage. According to the criminal complaint filed against her, the footage showed Silver processing missed-coupon transactions on several occasions, “but she never did this with any customers present at her register, or her being in possession of any coupons.” Of the 34 missed-coupon transactions she conducted, the complaint cites nine, in which Silver was said to have pocketed $228.25.

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But that was nothing compared to the gift cards.

While investigating the “missed coupon” incidents, store officials also noticed that Silver had processed gift card returns 47 times in a six-month period. Giving cash refunds for previously purchased gift cards is “very rarely done by Giant,” the criminal complaint notes. But Silver did it several times a week, sometimes more than once a day. She started small, entering one gift card refund for $43.39. But soon the “gift cards” she was refunding were valued at up to $500.

Investigators said there were never any gift cards, and the “refunds” were going right into Silver’s own pocket. In all, she “refunded” $9,586 worth of gift cards. Together with the “missed coupons” she processed, police said she pocketed a total of $9,814.

Silver was charged with a number of crimes, including theft, receiving stolen property and tampering with records. She remained in prison until last week, when she entered a guilty plea and was sentenced.

In a refreshing change of pace from other, similar cases in which the defendants either avoided having to pay restitution, or were ordered to pay a mere portion of their ill-gotten gains, Silver was ordered to pay back the full $9,814 that she took. And she’s been given three years to do it.

So she’d better get a job quick. Word is, Giant has an opening for a cashier.

Image sources: Giant Food Stores, Limerick Township Police

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