Back in April, I shared the story of a coupon counterfeiter known as The Purple Lotus operating on the Dark Web. On Wednesday, The Purple Lotus, Beau Wattigney, withdrew his former pleas of Not Guilty and pled guilty to all counts against him. He will be sentenced in October.
A statement from the Coupon Information Center notes that “The case against Wattigney was so compelling that the defendant quickly admitted his guilt and now stands a convicted felon.”
Coupons in the News has more information, noting that The Purple Lotus faces paying millions of dollars in retribution:
A New Orleans man faces up to several decades in prison and millions of dollars in fines and restitution, after pleading guilty to selling counterfeit coupons online and bilking companies out of at least a million dollars – and possibly much, much more.
30-year-old Beau Wattigney pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday, to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit trademark counterfeiting. The guilty pleas come just two months after he was charged with running his fraudulent coupon scheme for at least two and a half years.
By pleading guilty, Wattigney admitted to creating thousands of counterfeit printable coupons and selling them on the “Dark Web”. Inaccessible to amateur web-surfers, and hidden behind layers of encryption that conceal users’ identities and locations, underground black markets such as the Silk Road have become infamous for their open trafficking in illegal and counterfeit goods such as drugs, weapons – and coupons.
Prosecutors say Wattigney made about $75,000 selling his counterfeits. But he’s now on the hook for the total face value of the coupons themselves. Court documents state that manufacturers’ total losses were “in excess of $1 million”, but investigators believe the final tally – which Wattigney will likely be ordered to pay back in the form of restitution – could end up being many times that amount.