The FBI is revealing new details about a $31.8 million counterfeit coupon scheme that landed a Virginia Beach couple in prison for nearly 20 years, combined.
In a press release last week, the agency said that investigators found fake coupons in “every crevice” of the house belonging to Lori Ann Talens and her husband, Pacifico Talens, Jr.. The falsified savings were worth more than $1 million. They also found designs for coupons for more than 13,000 products on Lori Ann Talens’ computer.
“She trained herself in the different techniques she needed to manipulate barcodes to make these coupons work,” said Special Agent Shannon Brill in the FBI release. Talens, who is considered the mastermind of the scheme, would create fake coupons with discounts “near or even over” an item’s retail value.
Talens did not utilize the forged vouchers herself. According to the FBI, she sold them to subscribers who discovered her on social media and talked with them using an encrypted messaging app. Talens was paid more than $400,000 in bitcoin and occasionally “exchanged coupons for stolen rolls of the special paper retailers use to print out coupons,” according to the agency.