Woman arrested in fake coupon ring sentenced to 2 years in prison

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Robin Ramirez By Jennifer Thomas Robin Ramirez By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- A woman who pleaded guilty to illegal control of an enterprise, counterfeiting and fraud schemes was sentenced Thursday morning.

Judge Daniel Martin sentenced Robin Ramirez to two years in prison with credit for 287 days time served and seven years of supervised probation. She also was ordered to pay restitution, which has been capped at $5 million. The amount will be determined at a later date.

Ramirez was one of three women arrested last July in a Phoenix police investigation into a fake coupon ring.

In November, Amiko Fountain and Marilyn Johnson each pleaded guilty to a single charge of counterfeiting. Each faces up to 18 months in jail.

Authorities accused Ramirez of shipping in counterfeit coupons from overseas and selling them online for approximately 50 percent of face value.

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

Phoenix police said they seized more than $25 million worth of fake coupons and $2 million in other assets from the women's Phoenix-area homes.

The Coupon Information Corporation called it the largest counterfeit coupon case the industry has ever seen.

"This counterfeiting enterprise had a monumental effect on our citizens and the business world alike," Phoenix police Officer James Holmes said in a media release. "As a result of these arrests, the Phoenix Police Department has received inquiries from citizens and law enforcement agencies across the country concerning the legality of coupons received via the internet. We continue to caution our citizens about how they obtain and use manufacturer's coupons; manufacturer's coupons are never sold and should never be purchased via any medium."