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If an extreme couponer in Texas was looking for a fight with Target – she’s got one now.

Elyse Rumenapp was arrested, and later acquitted of using fraudulent coupons to steal more than $20,000 from her local Target. But instead of merely accepting the verdict as vindication, she sued Target for malicious prosecution.

And now Target is suing her right back.

Over several weeks in December 2012 and January 2013, Target says Rumenapp conspired with two store employees in Wylie, Texas to use fake coupons or coupons that were not valid on the products she was purchasing, and the employees would approve them anyway. In exchange for their assistance, Target says Rumenapp would gift the employees with items she purchased at the store, including iPads and video games.

Some of the coupons she used were allegedly worth as much as $600 off a single product, which the employees pushed right through. In just four shopping trips during a five-day period, Target says it suffered a total loss of $26,647.95.

In a countersuit filed this week, Target is accusing Rumenapp of fraud, and is seeking an unspecified amount of damages.

Rumenapp, in turn, wants damages from Target.

In a case that was later transferred to federal court, she sued Target in Texas last December, claiming that the store and its asset protection manager wrongfully pursued criminal charges against her. She claims she did nothing wrong.

The self-proclaimed extreme couponer says she learned about couponing in November of 2012, and put her newly-found skills to work at her local Target. She’d go shopping there at least two times a week, and frequently “checked out with multiple carts filled with items, and dozens to hundreds of coupons needing to be scanned,” her lawsuit reads. She said it often “took Target employees an hour or more to scan her purchases and coupons at the register,” which caused some cashiers to become angry and impatient.

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But cashier Darrien Kirkwood was patient with her, Rumenapp said. So she tended to frequent his lane, and eventually would text him before heading to the store, to see if he was working. Another employee, customer service manager Matthew Villeneuve, would help approve coupons that Kirkwood’s register rejected.

“On occasion, Elyse gave items such as Gatorade, video games, razor blades, and in one instance an iPad to staff at Target who had been patient and kind to her, including Kirkwood (and) Villeneuve,” her lawsuit states.

But one day, a manager stepped in and rejected her coupons – including some she presented via the SnipSnap app, which was known to contain loads of user-submitted fraudulent coupons back then.

Because, really, when was the last time you saw a genuine $600 coupon you could use at Target?

Target reviewed Kirkwood’s transactions, and found “numerous inappropriate applications of merchandise discounts, invalid coupons, fraudulent coupons and coupons which were applied without the necessary items being presented,” Target said. So the asset protection manager reported him to police. Investigators then arrested him, along with Villenueve and Rumenapp herself. Police later searched Rumenapp’s home and seized items she had purchased at Target.

Kirkwood and Villenueve pleaded guilty to theft, but Rumenapp was tried and acquitted in 2014. And a year later, she decided to go after Target for going after her.

Target “singled out Elyse from the other ‘extreme couponers’ who shopped at Target and reported her,” her lawsuit says. Rumenapp ended up spending “her life savings defending the criminal proceeding.” In addition, “during the nearly two years following the alleged theft, Elyse suffered severe physical and mental pain, suffering and anguish, including miscarrying her unborn child one week after her criminal trial.”

Now, she wants Target to pay for her pain and suffering – and she wants her stuff back. Target, meanwhile, claims she has failed to show “more than a scintilla of clear and convincing evidence” that her claims are in any way valid.

If Rumenapp wins her case and is granted a substantial amount of damages, then it would appear her extreme couponing really paid off. But as far as Target is concerned, she’s already gotten away with coupon fraud once. And this time, Target doesn’t intend to let her get away with it again.

Photo by JeepersMedia

5 Comments

  1. That was a different time frame when they had shows showing how they bought thousands of dollars worth of merchandise for 100 bucks; I mean most likely she knew some of the coupons were not real but Target failed to prove that the 2 employees only plead guilty because they were offered a deal if you plead guilty we will give you a deal they should of plead innocent and there charges would of been dropped. First of having a teenager supervisor is not a smart part on Target’s side. Target should make her a undisclosed offer to have this dismissed

  2. Giving merchandise to your favorite cashiers so they will push your coupons through? WOW, that’s amazingly shady and something ethical couponers wouldn’t do. Many stores have a policy that if you are a cashier working there, you shouldn’t be ringing up family members or friends and this demonstrates why. Those cashiers obviously lost their jobs.

  3. anonymous2 says:

    Since she was found not guilty then they should return the items to her or cash equivalent.

  4. Who gives a sh$&

  5. Hmmmm. I don’t know what to think of this. If she was found not guilty of any wrongdoing then I guess she does have the right to sue…. I’m still kinda torn on this one!

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