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If you’re going to commit coupon fraud, it helps to have assistance from an insider. That assistance also comes in handy when it comes time to pay off your five-figure restitution order after you’re arrested, convicted and sentenced.

Four months after a BJ’s Wholesale Club cashier was ordered to repay more than $60,000 in losses due to a coupon fraud scheme that she and a customer perpetrated, that customer has now been ordered to pay his share as well.

70-year-old Len Roitman of Delray Beach, Florida agreed to a plea deal with prosecutors last week. By paying half of the restitution and completing three years of a pretrial diversion program, he’ll have all criminal charges dropped if he stays out of trouble.

Police caught onto their scam back in May of last year. According to a police report, investigators were called to a BJ’s store in Boynton Beach, after a corporate audit found “an unusually high dollar amount of coupons” were being redeemed at the store. BJ’s traced the transactions to the register run by 20-year-old Justice Buonsante.

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And since BJ’s is a membership club, it wasn’t difficult for the retailer to determine that all of the suspicious transactions that Buonsante was ringing up, were all for the same member, whose card she scanned each time, and whose name and photo were right on the card.

So when BJ’s asset protection manager saw that customer enter the store on a day that Buonsante was working, she called police. Investigators waited until Roitman checked out, using multiple coupons, and intercepted him as he loaded his purchases into his car. His “receipt indicated the total cost for his purchase should’ve been $1208.98,” the police report reads, but it “was reduced to $3.11 after coupon discounts.”

Under questioning, Roitman and Buonsante said they first met in November 2022 when she helped him apply coupons to his order at a self-checkout. The next time Roitman came to the store, he sought out Buonsante again. Over the course of six months, investigators say Roitman checked out with Buonsante as his cashier 79 times. Each time he handed over a coupon, he told police “he would tell Buonsante the dollar amount to enter,” overriding the coupons’ actual values with manually applied discounts ranging from $12 to $90. Upon examining the coupons used, investigators found “the majority were expired, and some appeared to be printed/fake.”

Altogether, the losses to BJ’s were calculated at $63,221.29. Buonsante and Roitman were both charged with grand theft and fraud, for which the maximum penalty upon conviction would have been 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Instead, the two will have their records cleared if they complete the pretrial diversion program – and pay off the restitution bill, a little at a time. Both were ordered to pay $5,000 up front, and at least $100 per month thereafter, which means they’ll have their debt fully paid off in about in 22 years, when Roitman is 92.

As for Buonsante, she told police she was just trying to be helpful and didn’t get anything from Roitman in return for her assistance. In the end, all she ended up with was a $31,000 debt that both she and Roitman will now be working to pay off for decades to come.

Image sources: Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office / Jeepers Media

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