TAUNTON, Mass. (WPRI) — Two Taunton women believed to be at the helm of a counterfeit coupon scheme are facing numerous charges, according to Plymouth County District Attorney Tim Cruz.
Jacqueline White, 41, and Crystal Travis, 40, are accused of stealing nearly $27,000 worth products from more than a dozen Stop & Shop grocery stores in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
In total, court documents reveal the women passed at least 3,365 counterfeit coupons at stores in East Providence, Smithfield and Pawtucket, as well as in Foxboro, Quincy, Weymouth, Raynham, Plainville, Whitman, Abington, Pembroke, Norwell, Hingham, North Dartmouth, New Bedford, Sandwich and Brockton.
Cruz said the women both made and purchased the high-quality coupons between March and June that worked with Stop & Shop Rewards Program cards.
Court documents state that the theft “went virtually undetected because their counterfeit coupons contained barcodes and graphic designs mirroring legitimate third-party vendor coupons.”
“The high quality of the counterfeiting made it nearly impossible for unsuspecting cashiers to detect the deceit,” the court documents continued.
The coupons often gave the women steep discounts on a variety of products, ranging from dish soap to laundry detergent.
Cruz said in one instance, the women bought 366 items worth more than $1,658, but reduced their total down to $3.28 using counterfeit coupons.
“Mainly, the fake coupons permitted [White and Travis] to leave a grocery store after paying only a few cents for items normally retailing in total for several hundred dollars,” the documents explained. “The little money [White and Travis] paid typically stemmed not from the groceries but from their purchases of reusable Stop & Shop grocery bags.”
Court documents reveal that the number of fake coupons the women passed during another shopping trip resulted in Stop & Shop owing them money.
Cruz said the women would not only resell the stolen products online for highly discounted prices, but would also tout their success on social media.
In total, investigators believe White and Travis accumulated the following products over a three-month span:
- 300 bottles of fabric freshener
- 56 bars of bath soap
- 188 bottles of fabric softener
- 226 bottles of laundry detergent
- 219 cans of air disinfectant
- 135 bottles of hand soap
- 22 skin care products
- 130 air fresheners
- 275 cases of antibacterial wipes
- 34 bottles of mouthwash
- 34 packages of paper towels
- 26 toothbrushes
- 21 tubes of hand cream
- 158 bottles of dish soap
Despite being warned back in April to stop passing counterfeit coupons by the Coupon Information Corporation, Cruz said the women continued to do so anyway.
White and Travis have each been charged with larceny by false pretenses and larceny to induce parting with personal property. In addition, White was also charged with organized retail theft.
Both women will be arraigned in Brockton Superior Court at a later date.