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The news this week that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the U.S. District Attorney's Office had apprehended the person charged with masterminding one of the biggest institutional coupon frauds perpetrated in the United States came as a great relief to News America Marketing, a subsidiary of News Corp. The New York-based company, which contacted the FBI early last year after some of its clients began to notice unusual redemption patterns, praised the authorities for their actions.
Lucas Henderson, 22, of Lubbock, Texas, faces federal felony charges of wire fraud and trafficking in counterfeit goods, and a potential prison sentence of up to 30 years for the two charges combined.
"The FBI executed a swift and thorough investigation, and we are gratified that the accused will now be facing justice,” noted News America Marketing president Chris Mixson. “Coupon fraud is not a victimless crime and we take it seriously in all its permutations, whether counterfeiting, the illegal acquisition of coupon inserts, or the purposeful misredemption of coupons. While the vast majority of coupon users are honest citizens simply trying to stretch their budgets further, this arrest should serve as notice to the handful of those who are doing things they shouldn’t, that we will aggressively pursue any and all remedies, up to and including federal criminal prosecution, in order to bring their illicit activities to a rapid conclusion.”
Along with the criminal charges, the company plans to pursue any and all civil actions against Henderson and any other parties revealed to be complicit in the matter, as well as against any other perpetrators of similar acts against News America Marketing or its clients and customers.
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said that the investigation is continuing.
News America Marketing's product portfolio, marketed under the SmartSource brand name, consists of the first branded free-standing insert, known as SmartSource Magazine, various in-store marketing products, merchandising services, database marketing tools and online promotions. These products and services enable marketers to deliver a brand message to millions of consumers each month via a network of 1,600-plus newspapers, and more than 55,000 supermarket, drug, office, mass merchandisers and dollar-store locations across the country, among them Kroger, Safeway, Publix, CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens, Staples, Family Dollar and Dollar General.