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What’s a teenager to do when she suddenly finds herself in serious financial trouble and can’t pay up?

She just might turn to her mother for assistance. Especially if a court orders Mom to help out.

That’s what happened in Indiana this week, as convicted mother-daughter coupon scammers were ordered to jointly pay more than $100,000 to Victoria’s Secret. And if they don’t come up with the cash within a year, they could end up behind bars.

41-year-old Wendy Skwarcan-Stoll of Nappanee, Indiana (pictured above, at left) was sentenced Monday after pleading guilty to forgery and corrupt business influence. Her daughter, 18-year-old Alexis McCartney (pictured at right), was convicted and sentenced back in June.

The two were arrested in February and charged with printing up their own Victoria’s Secret rewards coupons, to use in stores for free merchandise. Police said the duo would sell the merchandise online, then print up more coupons and continue the cycle. Over time, they used fraudulent coupons to buy and resell more than $100,000 worth of products from several Victoria’s Secret stores in four states.

The scheme started to unravel when store management in Racine, Wisconsin flagged the coupons as being fake. Managers reviewed surveillance footage and saw two women, later identified as Skwarcan-Stoll and McCartney, using the coupons in their store – 200 miles away from their home. Further investigation turned up footage of the same women using the same coupons in Victoria’s Secret stores throughout Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan and Indiana.

Store managers were easily able to track down the coupon users, they told police, since Skwarcan-Stoll had used her credit card when making her purchases.

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Police went to her home and conducted what they called a “trash pull” – digging through her garbage for evidence of anything suspicious, which they can legally do without a warrant. And what they found certainly raised their suspicions. Inside the trash cans, police reported that they found “numerous Victoria’s Secret receipts and shopping bags, shipping labels, lists of sales, a handheld Victoria’s Secret receipt generator/credit card scanner that… was stolen from a store in Flint, Michigan, and items used to manufacture the fraudulent coupons.”

That was enough for investigators to obtain a search warrant for the home, where they found “many new items of Victoria’s Secret clothing and accessories… along with counterfeit coupons and items used to create them”. Police told Coupons in the News that the coupons were “being manufactured in the basement using a home printer, computer and printing supplies from Office Depot.”

The fake coupons were Victoria’s Secret Angel Rewards certificates, which are normally issued to store credit card holders who earn points per dollars spent that can be redeemed for $10 or $15 off a future purchase. Skwarcan-Stoll and McCartney were either combining these coupons on a single large purchase, or breaking their purchases into multiple transactions so they could get $10 or $15 worth of products at a time, all for free. The items would then be offered for sale in a Facebook group called “Pink Ladies Closet”.

Police said Skwarcan-Stoll admitted that she and her daughter had been making and using the coupons for about two years. In all, Victoria’s Secret calculated its losses to be $100.082.97.

McCartney pleaded guilty in June to corrupt business influence, for which she received a three-year suspended sentence and was ordered to repay Victoria’s Secret the full $100.082.97. The understanding was that her mother would be ordered to help pay the restitution – if she was also convicted. But Skwarcan-Stoll fought the charges and resisted pleading guilty.

So McCartney found herself in an awkward situation where she might have been hoping for Mom to be convicted, so she wasn’t on the hook for the full amount of restitution all by herself.

If that was the case, she got her wish, because Mom ultimately pleaded guilty. She was given a five-year suspended sentence and ordered to help pay the restitution. The two have one year to finish paying off the full amount, otherwise they could be ordered to serve out their suspended sentences in prison.

So mother and daughter are going to need to come up with a way to raise $100,000 real quick. Just not the way they originally did it – because that’s what got them into this whole mess in the first place.

Image sources: L Brands / Elkhart County Jail

2 Comments

  1. Pingback: Victoria's Revenge - deranged.mederanged.me

  2. Seems like they got off really easy. No jail time and just restitution for what I assume was grand larceny.

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