A college student arrested last year for running an Internet scam involving hundreds of thousands of dollars of fake product coupons pleaded guilty Wednesday in a federal court in New York to felony charges that could put him behind bars for three years.
Lucas Henderson admitted to committing wire fraud and trafficking in counterfeit goods by posting bogus coupons online while he was a 22-year-old computer security student at Rochester Institute of Technology. The Lubbock, Texas, native is no longer in school and now, according to the New York Daily News, works at a McDonald's.
The FBI busted Henderson in May 2011 for creating coupons for a vast array of consumer and electronic goods. Among the too-good-to-be-true offers were coupons for Sony Play Stations, PowerBars, Magic Hat beer and Campbell’s Soup. According to the criminal complaint, counterfeit coupons for Tide detergent cost Procter & Gamble alone some $200,000.
The once-promising college student used his smarts to make his fake coupons look like legitimate ones from the website smartsource.com, which is run by a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation.
While companies lost hundreds of thousands of dollars to the fake print-at-home coupons, it's unclear whether Henderson made any money off of the ruse.
He did, however, apparently share his illicit online coupon-making tips with other wannabe scammers.
Counterfeit coupons have become a growing problem in recent years as slammed consumers have sought discounts to make their money go farther.