California Woman Arrested for Fraudulently Selling over $700,000 Worth of Counterfeit Retail Store Coupons
NEWARK, N.J. – A California woman was arrested and charged with fraudulently selling over $700,000 worth of counterfeit Catalina coupons used at various retail stores across the United States for the purchase of household items, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced today.
Tong Lor, aka “Mandy Carr,” 33, of Modesto, California, is charged by criminal complaint with two counts of mail fraud. She is expected to make her initial appearance by videoconference today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Carolyn K. Delaney in the Eastern District of California.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
From January 2020 to May 2021, Lor was involved in a large-scale operation to produce and sell fraudulent, counterfeit Catalina coupons using the U.S. Postal Service. She printed coupons with fake bar codes and then mailed them to purchasers in New Jersey and elsewhere for use at participating retail stores for discounts on household items such as diapers, laundry detergent, and toiletries.
Lor sold the counterfeit coupons via invitation-only internet groups – associated with her businesses: Mandy’s Treasure Box, Mandys Knitting Club, and Mandy’s Treasure Chest – that were accessible via the Internet site Telegram Messenger Inc. (Telegram), a cloud-based, mobile instant communications service. The purchasers who were invited into the groups were provided with access to an order form containing a list of numerous counterfeit coupons that had associated prices and volume designations. Purchasers would electronically select the counterfeit coupons they wanted and submit the form to Lor through the Telegram application.
Lor then falsely coded and printed the counterfeit coupons and mailed them to the purchasers, almost exclusively using the USPS mail system. USPS records show that from in and December 2017 through the present, Lor mailed over 13,000 parcels using USPS.
The charge of 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, whichever is greater.
Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited postal inspectors of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Acting Inspector in Charge Rodney M. Hopkins, in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s arrest.
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.
The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.