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Two Walgreens shoppers are now facing criminal charges, in a $29,000 counterfeit coupon scheme that already ensnared two New Orleans-area Walgreens employees earlier this year. And it all came unraveled after the store began to question how many high-value Catalina coupons they were accepting, how many gift cards they were selling – and how many lollipops were flying off the shelves.

39-year-old April Ansardi of Gretna, Louisiana is due to be arraigned today on one count of felony computer fraud. 37-year-old Latina King of Harvey, Louisiana missed her scheduled arraignment this week and is due back in court to face ten counts of felony computer fraud next month.

The two are accused of conspiring with 35-year-old Kewanta Young of Avondale and 40-year-old Fanny Kelley of Harvey, both of them former shift leaders at a local Walgreens just across the Mississippi River from Uptown New Orleans. Together, police say, the four women were involved in a scam using counterfeit Catalina coupons to defraud the store out of more than $29,000.

The case first came to light this past April, when Young was arrested and Kelley was arraigned. Since then, an incident report from the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office divulges new details about the scam and how it worked.

Investigators were first called to the store back in February, after Walgreens’ corporate office conducted an audit of the store. That audit “revealed an unusually high amount of prepaid gift card purchases using a coupon,” which raised red flags since Walgreens does not accept coupons for gift cards.

Walgreens discovered that the coupons being used were “Frankenstein” Catalina coupons. That’s the industry nickname for counterfeit coupons that are put together with pieces and parts of other, legitimate coupons – like the ones that tripped up a Connecticut couponer a couple of years ago.

In this case, the Frankenstein coupons were made to look like Catalina coupons that print out at the register when you check out. They stated that they were for Crest 3D White toothpaste, but had a bar code for Eveready batteries. And when they were scanned, they took $15 off any purchase at all.

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Ansardi is accused of participating in at least one transaction, while police say King participated in many more, all of them allegedly rung up by either Young or Kelley.

Investigators said the customers would purchase a gift card worth precisely $140, which required a $5.95 activation fee. Then they’d pick up a 50-cent lollipop. The cashiers would scan the lollipop nine times, bringing the total after tax to $150.61. The customers would scan ten of their fake $15 coupons to take $150 off, then pay 61 cents out of pocket.

The nine scanned lollipops, when added to the gift card, helped ensure there were ten items in the transaction so the ten coupons would scan correctly.

It worked – so they kept doing it. Over and over and over again.

During a five-week period, police say Young was responsible for at least 173 of these transactions totaling $26,055. On one day alone, Young is accused of ringing up nearly $10,000 worth of gift cards – $140 at a time. And that took a while. A customer, whom police believed to be King, “would stand by as other customers would come up, and Young can be seen assisting with their purchases, then going back to doing another transaction with the suspect,” the incident report reads.

Kelley allegedly rang up the same type of transaction for King and also for Ansardi, a total of 31 times, representing a total loss to Walgreens of $3,124.72. For her troubles, Kelley told police that King gave her two $90 gift cards as a “present”.

Kelley was charged with five counts of computer fraud. If convicted, she, King and Ansardi each face a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Young was charged with theft of $25,000 or more and five counts of computer fraud. She faces up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $50,000.

That would buy a lot of lollipops. But after hundreds of transactions using the little suckers to get free gift cards, these four women have probably already seen all the lollipops they can stand.

Image source: Walgreens

One Comment

  1. I seriously hate when people can’t get stores correct way the media wants to write something and then run with it like it’s an actual fact or truth when you dont hvar the facts. If you wrote a story from the actual evidence it would be a completely different story. So let me Enlighten you with some facts instead of information given to the police by an overzealous fraud specialist who has an axe to grind. These register rewards were used at at least 7 sstores just in the same area. To the actual evidence the coupons themselves are not fake they are manipulated they put it on the real paper with real offers there is absolutely no way to use a coupon code it for batteries on anything else but batteries in that’s common knowledge to anyone who works cash register. There were at least 9 employees of that store alone that took these coupons but only two accused of anything. Not to mention the six other store with an unknown number of employees. Another FACT for call you name blaming finger-pointing people we were charged one count for each day that we accepted the coupons however two of the days that I supposedly accepted these coupons I wasn’t even scheduled to work I wasn’t there yet I’m charged for it because I’m charged for what someone else did. According to the actual evidence from corporate it was $2,700 in coupons that I accepted meanwhile another employee who was not arrested not convicted not plastered all over the news and social media took 6,000 where is his name why isn’t he in this article. This is all a bunch of BS because because news media and social media have nothing better to do than to ruin people’s lives it is a known fact by the police that these women bought these coupons online the officer real the paper is real but they are manipulated on a high tech computer system according to the police. So why is news media like this going with the same crap on yeah because I can’t get information for an ongoing investigation. But of course people are going to judge what they don’t know anything about. So let me ask this will there be an correction updated or an apologetic article when we are found innocent and his charges are dropped because it’s obvious by the evidence that we had nothing to do with these two women buying coupons online and using them at many many many stores and not to mention the fact they were also used in other states other cities and other places so what about them

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