Two Massachusetts women have been indicted on charges of operating an organized counterfeit coupon ring, using thousands of fake coupons to get tens of thousands of dollars in merchandise for little or nothing out of pocket, then bragging about it on social media, disregarding run-ins with law enforcement and ignoring an appeal from the Coupon Information Corporation to stop.

A Plymouth County grand jury today returned indictments against 41-year-old Jacqueline White (pictured above, at right) and 40-year-old Crystal Travis (pictured at left), both of Taunton, Massachusetts. Both face charges of larceny, while White, the alleged ringleader, faces an additional count of organized retail theft.

The indictments allege that, from March through June of this year, the two women used at least 3,365 counterfeit coupons to steal approximately $26,547 worth of products from eighteen different Stop & Shop grocery stores in Massachusetts and Rhode Island (a collection of just some of their alleged counterfeits is pictured above). But it’s believed their actions may have been far more extensive, involving more stores, more stolen items and many more counterfeit coupons.

It all started at least two years ago, when White was permanently banned from Hannaford grocery stores for shoplifting. According to her indictment, White subsequently joined her first invitation-only Facebook group dedicated to counterfeit couponing, paying $100 to join and gain access to coupon templates and PDF files of fraudulent coupons.


“Eight days later,” the indictment reads, “White began using the counterfeit coupons and provided users updates on which counterfeit coupons worked at a Stop and Shop.” Facebook shut down her group in April, but replacement groups were quickly created.

Using what they had learned from the Facebook group, the Plymouth County District Attorney’s office says White and Travis “created high quality, counterfeit coupons that contained barcodes and graphic designs that mirrored legitimate third-party coupons.” White, for one, “appears to have printed numerous counterfeit coupons on her home printer.”

Loyalty card records and surveillance video allegedly show that White and Travis traveled together to numerous Stop & Shop stores, filling shopping carts with items like laundry detergent, body wash, household cleaning goods, razors, beauty products, air fresheners and more, then using stacks of fake coupons at the checkout to reduce their total to nearly nothing. In at least one transaction, the store was said to have ended up owing them money.

The two “did not make serious effort to conceal their illegal scheme from authorities, or the public at large,” the indictments read. “Instead, they unabashedly bragged about their theft
online.” The women allegedly posted photos of their “hauls” on social media, advertising them for sale.

Authorities caught on to what was happening several months ago, and warned the women to stop. Bud Miller, Executive Director of the Coupon Information Corporation, emailed White back in April. “We are aware that you have been associated with illegal counterfeit coupon activities on one or more social media platforms,” he wrote. “We urge you to immediately cease.”

Records show that White asked her Facebook group whether anyone else had received such an email – and then continued her counterfeit couponing activities.

A month later, the indictments describe an incident where police were called to a Quincy, Massachusetts Stop & Shop, where they observed the women acting suspiciously. Knowing they were being watched, “the defendants lingered inside the store before discarding their grocery carts” and exiting, a court document states, leaving about $1,200 worth of products behind.

The last transactions described in the indictments occurred one week later. After that, White allegedly told her Facebook group of “her intent to start stealing from different businesses,” writing, “I want to switch it up. Expand my horizons if u will.”

Instead, that’s where the alleged crimes appear to have stopped. But the activity may have been going on a lot longer. Authorities say Stop & Shop loyalty cards associated with White show that she received more than $100,000 in coupon discounts, which the District Attorney’s office says indicates “she likely passed numerous bogus coupons outside the timeframe of the indictments.” The indictments also state that White “admitted using counterfeit coupons at Petco, Walmart, Walgreens, CVS, Starbucks, Dollar General, and Target.”

Throughout, White “never expressed remorse for her thievery,” the indictments read, “arguing poor store policies justified her rampant deceit.” In one Facebook post, she’s quoted as stating that “they deserve it.”

The two women are due to be arraigned “at a later date,” the District Attorney’s Office states. Each faces the possibility of up to five years in state prison if convicted of the larceny charges, with White facing up to 15 years for organized retail theft. Others may face charges as well. White’s husband is described in the indictments as helping her sell stolen merchandise. The owner of the Facebook group in question also “risks the potential of indictment.” The District Attorney has requested pretrial release conditions that include having each defendant outfitted with a GPS monitoring device to ensure they remain in state and do not enter any Stop & Shop store.

“We look forward to justice being done,” the CIC’s Miller said in a statement. “Shoppers can easily protect themselves from coupon counterfeiters by never buying coupons. Coupon counterfeiters hurt honest consumers by making it more difficult for the industry to issue coupons and other money saving promotions.”

“The defendants’ scheme harmed retailers, manufacturers nationwide, and the economy,” the indictments state. “Honest couponers suffer from the defendants’ theft in the form of fewer coupons and reduced face values as affected companies recover their losses in other ways.”

In the meantime, the case serves as another lesson to cashiers, stores, buyers of reduced-price grocery items sold online, and members of social media couponing groups: if a coupon appears too good to be true – it probably is.

Image source: Plymouth County District Attorney’s Office

One Comment

  1. Since they blatently did this and bragged about it and didn’t stop, these 2 should be punished as severely as possible. Jail time and reimbursement for an amount more than they fraudulently “saved”.

    And then people wonder why stores are hesitant when it comes to coupons.

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