Walmart cashier busted for falsely redeeming $255K in coupons... for herself!

I never cease to be amazed at the measures some people take to commit coupon fraud. Recently, a Walmart employee pled guilty to running a coupons-for-cash scheme. Her plan? She brought coupons to work that she cut out of the paper, then exchanged the coupons for cash that came into the store... to the tune of more than $255,000! From Coupons in the News:

Eileen Zimmerman of Homer City, Pennsylvania... managed to get Walmart to accept more than a quarter million dollars worth of coupons. Only problem is, she worked at Walmart. And she was in charge of submitting the store’s coupons for reimbursement.

It all apparently proved too tempting for Zimmerman. She pleaded guilty last Friday to felony theft, nearly a year after her arrest on charges of running a coupons-for-cash scheme in Walmart’s back office. Police say she smuggled stacks of coupons from home into the store, and as she balanced the day’s sales, she exchanged the coupons for cash as though customers had used them, sent the coupons off for reimbursement, and pocketed the cash for herself – a total of $255,438.50 over two years.

Her perfect crime began to crumble when a coupon clearinghouse reported a $75,000 discrepancy to Walmart. Store officials then reviewed surveillance video. A police report notes they were surprised to see Zimmerman “reaching into her jacket pocket and pulling out coupons that she had brought in,” then swapping them for cash.

No wonder, her managers then realized, that the number of coupons the store processed each day nearly tripled every time Zimmerman was working.

She's been ordered to pay back the $250,000 she took from Walmart via this scheme.


By the pound?

I'm sure I've heard that some of these clearinghouses just do coupons by the pound so maybe they only audit infrequently since she was doing this for sometime before getting caught?

Yes and no

Coupons are still redeemed at the clearinghouse or redemption house on a conveyor belt and scanned -- all coupons get scanned. The weight thing comes into play when some stores bag up their coupons and send them to their own corporate. Instead of reimbursing each individual store for every coupon they took, some chains (Dominick's used to do this) weight the bags and guesstimate the value of the coupons based on the weight.

Once they get to the redemption stage though, they do all get scanned.