ELIZABETHTOWN. Ky. (WDRB) -- Three Hardin county women were arrested on Wednesday and accused of running a multi-state fake coupon ring over several years.
Lisa Williams, Harley Miller, Tara Lybeck and Mary Ann Dillon, all of Hardin county, are all accused of buying more than $100,000 in items -- such as diapers and razor blades -- with fake coupons, and then reselling them.
Williams, Miller and Lybeck were all being held at the Hardin County Detention Center as of Friday morning. Dillion is not yet in custody according to police.
According to the police the women used fake coupons to buy items at grocery stores and pharmacies at deeply discounted rates and then resold them for a significant profit.
"They very freely confessed that they would target employees who they perceived to be new or young hoping that they could avoid detection," said Elizabethtown Police officer John Thomas.
According to police, the women bought and sold items using the fake coupons in Hardin, Jefferson and Fayette counties, among others. Investigators believe they did the same in at least five other states.
"That was part, I think, of the evil genius of it," Thomas said. "They knew they needed to diversify areas that they were targeting to avoid detection. And for over two years it worked."
Investigators believe the women were purchasing the fake coupons online.
The $100,000 price tag only covers what Elizabethtown Police were able to discover in Hardin county.
Police say they have been investigating the case for eight months. Loss prevention officers at Kroger in Elizabethtown caught a few suspicious transactions the women had made, detectives said. Police say they discovered that the scam had been ongoing for at least two years during the course of the investigation.
"This is a type of organized crime," Thomas said. "One that is more prevalent than most people realize. This costs the economy hundreds of millions of dollars every year."
The women face theft of retail merchandise for resale which carries a penalty of five to ten years in prison.
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