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When does using coupons and gift cards end up costing you even more than if you had paid full price? When you get caught scamming the store and have to pay back everything you got for free – plus more.

That’s what happened to a former Staples employee in Oklahoma, whose $8,664 haul has ended up costing him $10,822.

Some employee discount! More like a 25% markup.

The problem with 22-year-old Avery Gilmore’s spending spree, was that none of it was on the up-and-up. The Stillwater, Oklahoma resident was sentenced Friday, in connection with an elaborate scheme to pocket thousands of dollars in gift cards redeemable at various other stores.

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Police said it happened last December, while Gilmore was working as a team supervisor at the local Staples office supply store. Managers noticed what they called “discrepancies in laptop inventory” and became suspicious when they discovered that Gilmore had recently processed returns on more than $8,000 worth of laptops.

Gilmore admitted to police, and later pleaded guilty, to conducting a scam that involved coupons, returns, Staples cash cards and third-party gift cards. He said he rang up the laptops for himself, using fraudulent coupon codes that allowed him to “purchase” the computers for free. Then he’d process them as returns, give himself Staples cash cards as a “refund”, and then use the cash cards to buy a selection of other retailers’ gift cards sold at Staples, in order to “buy items for his apartment.”

And now he’s paying the price, for his well-furnished apartment. Gilmore received a five-year suspended sentence, must serve 50 hours of community service, and has to pay back the $8,664 in gift cards he gave himself, plus $2,158 in fines and court costs.

So that’s how you end up spending more than $10,000 for an $8,000 haul. Seems like Gilmore has a little something to learn about couponing correctly. And without his Staples job, and with thousands of dollars to pay – a little couponing may be just what he needs right about now.

Photo by JeepersMedia

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