A California woman has been sentenced to up to 20 years in prison and fined মিল 10 million after being convicted of making and selling counterfeit Catalina coupons worth about 10 million and defrauding shops and manufacturers.
Tong Lore, 34, who used the nickname “Mandy Carr” online, pleaded guilty yesterday to conspiracy to commit mail fraud. The California resident was arrested about a year ago on charges of selling counterfeit coupons worth about $ 700,000.
But that statistic has turned out to be a very conservative estimate.
Prosecutors now say $ 700,000 was the only amount Lor earned from selling his coupons. But the total face value of the more than 100,000 counterfeits it makes and sells – representing the total loss of victims – is more than 9.9 million.
In early 2017, prosecutors say Lor eBay began buying unauthorized Catalina coupon printing equipment. Over time, he received at least 29 printers, which he supplied with regular purchases of Catalina coupon paper and ink.
And then he started working by removing the printers. He has created several invite groups, including names like “Mandy’s Treasure Box,” “Mandy’s Knitting Club” and “Mandy’s Treasure Chest” in the Telegram messaging app. An order form containing a list of counterfeit Catalina coupons available to customers and a price for each was presented. Once ordered, Lore will print the coupons and send them.
U.S. Postal Inspectors launched an investigation after Lore’s postal service account was flagged for having unusually high levels of mailing activity. Just to make sure the mailing activity was up and running, inspectors intercepted about a dozen packages that Lor had sent to a buyer – all with fake coupons, including his mailing address and email address. Undercover investigators then used the information to invite him to one of his telegram groups, where they placed several orders and received about 400 coupons that they were able to verify were fake with Catalina. Then the postal inspectors went inside, and the jig went up.
Prosecutors initially cited postal service records showing that Lor had mailed more than 13,000 parcels over the years – an average of more than a dozen per day. They later counted the coupons he created and sold, and estimated that he had created more than 100,000 of them, which his buyers unloaded at stores across the country. The stores that received coupons for expensive items such as diapers, laundry detergents and cosmetics, and the manufacturers whose coupons were forged, suffered a loss of about $ 9.9 million.
“We are grateful that our cooperation with the US Postal Inspection Service has successfully put an end to this producer’s fraudulent activities,” said David Glogf, Catalina’s chief legal and administrative officer, in a statement to Coupon in the News. “We would like to thank the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service for their hard work in this case.” He went on to see the bright side: “This unfortunate situation has ultimately contributed to a positive outcome for the industry and our clients. No other partner is or is able to do what we are doing to alleviate the fraud. “
He is scheduled to be sentenced in August. Lor could face up to 20 years in prison and a 250,000 fine, or “double the gain or loss from the crime,” which would be more than 1.4 million. This includes a separate confiscation order of $ 727,155, not to mention a potential recovery order to be set at the time of sentencing – all of which could hold Lore for several million dollars.
Making 700,000 by printing some fake coupons might seem like a pretty good thing if you can get it. But for Lor, those earnings will come at a very steep price.