A student at New York’s Rochester Institute of Technology
(RIT) has been arrested for producing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of
fake coupons and posting them to 4chan and other websites.
Lucas Henderson, a 22-year old computer security student
from Lubbock, Texas was charged with wire fraud and trafficking counterfeit
goods when he turned himself into a Rochester, New York federal court on
Using the Tor browser, which anonymizes traffic, Henderson
posted fake coupons that mimicked real coupons from Smartsource.com, a coupon
directory owned by News Corporation.
Henderson, who usually posted anonymously, slipped up in
October by posting from an IP address that corresponded to his computer at RIT.
In working with RIT and Google, Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent
Andre Cicero, who had been working the case, requested a warrant for Henderson’s
arrest in an affidavit filed on May 10.
The bogus coupons, posted from July 2010 to March, were for mostly inconspicuous goods like Bagel Bites, Tide detergent and Magic Hat beer. Yet some were for
big ticket items like Xbox and Playstation gaming consoles. A U.S. District Court complaint cited
that Henderson also posted tutorials on the website Zoklet.com for users who
were looking to print and redeem coupons of their own.
According to the complaint, Tide’s manufacturer, Proctor
& Gamble, who have never issued a print-at-home coupon, reported $200,000
worth of fake coupons were used in the month of December alone.