The Cincinnati-area has its fair share of aggressive prosecutors who seek harsh penalties for those who are alleged of committing a crime. This is especially true when an alleged crime involves financial harm to another individual or a business. Yet, far too often these prosecutors overstep their bounds and either charge innocent individuals with serious crimes, or charge individuals with crimes that are much more serious than the alleged events that occurred.
Two Ohio women find themselves in this situation now after being accused of committing fraud. According to reports, the women acquired fake coupons online and used them to purchase thousands of dollars of goods from multiple local CVS stores. The women claim that they, too, were scammed by the fake coupons, and they say that they will pay back some $1,800 to the CVS stores affected. Yet, the women still face felony charges. The penalties, if they are convicted, could be quite significant.
Authorities say that coupon fraud is becoming a larger problem, with fake manufacturer coupons being submitted to retailers that then send them to a redemption center. It isn't until that point that the coupons are identified as fakes. Retailers are then left with the losses caused by the fraudulent discount. However, many consumers who utilize fake coupons may not realize that they are doing so until they are confronted by the police.
As with every crime, fraud has certain elements that the prosecution must prove before a conviction can be obtained. Oftentimes, specific intent is one of these elements. Therefore, if an individual did not knowingly and intentionally commit a crime, then, depending on the specific offense alleged, the individual may be able to obtain an acquittal. Those who are facing charges may therefore want to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help them craft a legal strategy that seeks to protect their legal rights, their freedom and their future.
Source: WLWT 5, "Women accused of taking extreme couponing beyond the limits of the law," Todd Dykes, Feb. 28 2017