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MORRISTOWN, N.J. -- Two brothers who own Super Foodtown supermarkets in the New Jersey counties of Morris and Essex this week pleaded guilty to running a four-year coupon redemption scam that allegedly yielded them and a female accomplice over $1 million.
Vincent Laracca, who owns a Super Foodtown in Newark, and Victor Laracca, who owns one Super Foodtown each in Lake Hiawatha and Cedar Knolls, pleaded guilty to charges of theft by deception the same day they were charged by the state Attorney General's Office, reported the Daily Record. The brothers signed consent orders in which they each agreed to pay $346,291 in restitution. They will be sentenced Sept. 7.
A citizen of Italy, Vincent Laracca may face deportation, although he has lived in the United States since 1960. Victor Laracca is an American citizen.
Between Nov. 1, 2002, and Oct. 31, 2006, the Laraccas admitted in court that they sent an unspecified number of coupons to clearinghouses to get money they weren't entitled to. Authorities would only say that the number of false coupons submitted over the four years was "very large."
Court papers say that the brothers collaborated on the scam with Barbara Kessler, operator of H&B Handling Corp., which collects and submits grocery stores' coupons to be redeemed by NCH Marketing Service, Inc. of Deerfield, Ill. and CMS, Inc. of Winston-Salem, N.C., the two of which represent about 85 percent of all coupon manufacturers.
The Laraccas and Kessler agreed that Kessler, while processing legitimate coupons from the brothers' stores, would add in many other coupons that hadn't been presented at the stores by shoppers. Instead, Kessler cut additional coupons from newspaper inserts and sent them to the clearinghouses, along with the legitimate coupons, according to court records.