Authorities in Montgomery County, Texas, near Houston, have just completed an eight-month investigation that uncovered an illegal, underground crime ring known as “Dark Side.”
More than 80 people involved with Dark Side have been identified. And what kind of crime was Dark Side wrapped up in? They were producing counterfeit COUPONS. (???) You know, like 50 cents off toothpaste, diapers, cleaning wipes, and soap.
But they were allegedly doing it on a large scale, nationwide. And one individual somehow purchased more than $200,000 worth of items from different stores in just ONE YEAR using these fake coupons. That’s nearly $550 a day.
The “thieves” made it look like these were discounts from manufacturers… and “stole” items from places like Walmart, Kroger, Target, and Walgreens. Then, they’d sell the items at flea markets and online.
The coupons only LOOKED legit… they wouldn’t actually work if you scanned them, but they were so convincing that store employees would honor them. One estimate claims the ring is responsible for $10 to $20 MILLION in losses.
(Click2Houston.com has video of the press conference. There are a lot of unanswered questions, like whether the coupons made the items free or just discounted. And why it would take these stores so long to stop accepting these wonky coupons, since they were big chains.)