California Woman Admits Selling over 100,000 Counterfeit Retail Store Coupons Worth over $9.9 Million
NEWARK, N.J. – A Modesto, California, woman admitted today that she fraudulently created and sold over $9.9 million worth of counterfeit Catalina coupons used at various retail stores across the United States for the purchase of household items, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.
Tong Lor, aka “Mandy Carr,” 34, pleaded guilty by video conference before U.S. District Judge Esther Salas to an information charging her with one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
From 2017 through May 2021, Lor was involved in a large-scale operation to produce and sell fraudulent Catalina Coupons using the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) mail system. A Catalina Coupon was a full-color, rectangular paper coupon that was part of a program created by numerous manufacturers of household products and honored by hundreds of participating retail stores located throughout the United States. Lor sold the counterfeit coupons via invitation-only internet groups associated with her businesses, which were accessible via the Internet site, Telegram Messenger Inc. (Telegram), a cloud-based, mobile instant communications service.
Lor printed coupons using fake bar codes and then mailed these counterfeit coupons in over 13,000 USPS parcels to purchasers in New Jersey and throughout the United States. Over 100,000 counterfeit coupons – with a value of over $9.9 million – were sold by Lor for use at retail stores across the country for discounts on household items such as diapers, laundry detergent, and toiletries.
The charge of conspiracy to commit mail fraud carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gain or loss from the offense. Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 16, 2022.
U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited postal inspectors of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Acting Inspector in Charge Raimundo Marrero in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Blake Coppotelli and Heather Suchorsky of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit in Newark.