Woman pleads guilty in counterfeit coupon case

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Marilyn Johnson By Mike Gertzman Marilyn Johnson By Mike Gertzman
Amiko Fountain By Mike Gertzman Amiko Fountain By Mike Gertzman
Robin Ramirez By Mike Gertzman Robin Ramirez By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX -- One of the women accused of assisting an international counterfeit coupon operation has confessed to breaking the law.

Marilyn Johnson, 54, has pleaded guilty to a charge of counterfeiting. She’s due back in court on February 1 for sentencing.

Johnson, Robin Ramirez, and Amiko Fountain were arrested after police raided three homes on July 10 and seized $25 million worth of coupons.

Ramirez, who is accused of being the ringleader, allegedly had counterfeit coupons shipped in from overseas. She would then sell the coupons on savvyshoppersite.com for approximately 50 percent of face value.

The scheme reportedly cheated manufacturers out of $400 million to $600 million.

Johnson and Fountain were accused of helping Ramirez by operating the site, and assisting with the shipping of the coupons.

Authorities said they believe Ramirez had been operating the scheme since 2007, and the Coupon Information Corporation said it was the largest counterfeit coupon case they had ever seen.

Johnson, Ramirez, and Fountain originally entered not guilty pleas at the end of July.