A suspect who pleaded guilty in federal court recently to trafficking in counterfeit documentation has admitted he produced and sold tens of thousands of phony department store discount coupons on eBay to unsuspecting customers.
Boi Quoc Vo, 30, pleaded guilty to one count of trafficking in counterfeit documentation. His sentencing is scheduled for March 3. He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, or twice loss resulting from the scam. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.
According to the plea agreement, Vo obtained legitimate electronic discount coupons that the company Kohl’s issued to customers who signed up for the retailer’s email marketing service. Vo admitted he altered security features in the coupons, which were designed to prevent their duplication and repeated use. He then made thousands of copies of the coupons and sold them on eBay, employing several different accounts with user names that concealed his identity.
In the plea agreement, Vo admits he made approximately $93,000 from the sale of the counterfeit coupons. The probe into the scam began last year after the HSI-led National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center in Virginia received a lead linking Vo to the possible sale of counterfeit coupons. As the case moved forward, special agents worked closely with eBay and loss prevention personnel from Kohl’s.
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