An Arizona woman who led a fake coupon ring was sentenced to two years in prison Thursday after pleading guilty to illegal control of an enterprise and counterfeiting and fraud schemes.
Robin Ramirez, along with two other women, reportedly ran a multimillion-dollar fake coupon ring considered to be the largest counterfeit coupon case in history, according to the Coupon Information Corporation.
Police say Ramirez, 41, Amiko Fountain, 42, and Marilyn Johnson, 54, bought counterfeit coupons online from overseas, and sold them online for approximately 50 percent of face value,
according to azfamily.com.
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"The opulence and the money was the equivalent of drug cartel-type of stuff. That's the type of money they had,"
Sgt. David Lake of the Phoenix Police Department told CBS 5.
The three women were arrested last July following an eight-week investigation in which police ultimately seized more than $25 million worth of fake coupons and $2 million in other assets from the women's Phoenix-area homes.
Ramirez's co-defendants plead guilty to counterfeiting and face up to 18 months in jail. She was sentenced to two years Thursday, and has been ordered to pay restitution to her victims. The amount will be determined at a later time.
"This counterfeiting enterprise had a monumental effect on our citizens and the business world alike," Phoenix police Officer James Holmes said in a statement. "As a result of these arrests, the Phoenix Police Department has received inquiries from citizens and law enforcement agencies across the country concerning the legality of coupons received via the Internet. We continue to caution our citizens about how they obtain and use manufacturer's coupons; manufacturer's coupons are never sold and should never be purchased via any medium."
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