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Law Enforcement & Retailer Team Up Against Coupon Counterfeiter

Lucas Townsend Henderson a/k/a “The Coupon Guy” was sentenced on two counterfeit coupon related felonies on February 13, 2013.

His sentence:

  1. Time Served
  2. Three Years of supervised probation
  3. No access to computers or similar devices without probation approval for three years
  4. Ordered to pay $900,000 in restitution, 15% of his wages to be garnished towards these payments
  5. Two fines of $100 each
  6. Some additional administrative costs

Case Timeline

2009 Henderson activities detected, CIC works with Industry to enhance loss prevention procedures

2010 FBI Investigation

2011 Henderson Arrested

2012 Henderson Guilty Plea

2013 Sentencing

2016 Supervised Probation scheduled to terminate

Lucas Townsend Henderson, 22, known as “The Coupon Guy” was arrested.

May 12, 2011. Lucas Townsend Henderson, 22, known as “The Coupon Guy”, Coupons Thumb was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation yesterday and charged with counterfeit coupon related crimes (wire fraud and trafficking in counterfeit goods). Henderson allegedly distributed counterfeit coupons and an instruction manual on how to make counterfeit coupons via a website best known for child pornography and racist and anti-Semitic images. Many of the website’s participants engaged in active discussions about how to best exploit the counterfeit coupons and what kinds of excuses to use if caught. If convicted, Henderson faces up to 30 years in prison and financial penalties. More information is available here.

A Malicious Attack

Bud Miller, CPP, CIC’s Executive Director, stated, “We congratulate the FBI on a job well done and we look forward to the successful prosecution of Henderson and his allies. It is a shame that Henderson destroyed his future with his counterfeit coupon obsession. Although Henderson’s malicious attack on the industry has failed, he caused substantial harm to countless small, independent grocers, who were more likely to accept his counterfeits than the chain stores. Innocent consumers also suffered as some stores began refusing to accept any Internet Print-at-Home Coupons.”

Henderson spent the last several years at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), majoring in computer science with a focus on computer security and forensics. He worked at RIT’s Information & Technology Services’ Help Desk. Ironically, Henderson’s resume includes a reference to taking a class entitled Ethics in IT. It is our hope that RIT will take appropriate actions.

Industry Adapted to Protect Itself

CIC recognized the threat and quickly adapted to minimize the losses caused by Henderson. Recent efforts will substantially enhance the CIC early warning system and will alert retailers’ point of sale systems about counterfeits in a matter of minutes, significantly reducing the chance that counterfeit coupons will be accepted. There will be no charge for retailers to participate in this alert system.

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Fraud Affect You?

CIC is working with retailers, processors and other industry participants to seek economical and practical solutions to mutual security challenges.