another one: The link for this is not working but I found the text elsewhere:
Woman to repay $346,291 in coupon scam
Hackensack resident, 59, enters probation program
BY PEGGY WRIGHT
A Hackensack woman, accused of running a coupon redemption scam with two grocery store owners was admitted Monday into a probationary program and agreed to pay $346,291 in restitution.
Barbara Kessler, 59, was served with a charge of theft by deception by state Deputy Attorney General Francine Pozner-Ehrenberg and simultaneously was accepted by Superior Court Judge Salem Vincent Ahto in Morristown into the Pre-Trial Intervention program.
Kessler did not admit to any crimes but agreed to pay the restitution to two clearinghouses -- NCH Marketing Service Inc. and CMS Inc. -- which receive coupons and distribute payments back to supermarkets on behalf of the manufacturers.
Kessler was ordered to serve three years on probation in the PTI program. If she successfully completes it, the theft by deception charge will be dismissed.
Store owners' case
The grocery store owners -- two brothers who live in Hanover -- are due to appear in court before Ahto on Wednesday and will formally be charged with theft by deception, authorities said.
The brothers were identified in court papers as Vincent Laracca, 60, and Victor Laracca, 57. Vincent Laracca is the owner of Super Foodtown of Ivy Hill in Irvington. Victor Laracca is the owner of a Foodtown in Newark, Super Foodtown of Lake Hiawatha, and Super Foodtown of Cedar Knolls.
The attorney general's office contends that Kessler and the Laraccas agreed that while processing legitimate coupons, Kessler would add a large number of other coupons which were not submitted to stores by customers but were directly clipped by her from newspaper inserts. Kessler ran a company called H&B Handling Corp., which assisted grocery stores by collecting and submitting their coupons for redemption.
The scam operated between Nov. 1, 2002, and Oct. 31, 2006, court records said.
In their alleged scam, Kessler submitted coupons to the two clearinghouses, which are representatives for about 85 percent of all coupon manufacturers. After receiving payment from the clearinghouses for all the redeemed coupons, the trio split up the proceeds, Pozner-Ehrenberg told the judge in court.
Authorities said that Victor Laracca's girlfriend, Patricia Hicks, 47, of Union, did not directly benefit from the scam but was the bookkeeper for his stores and allegedly distributed envelopes of money obtained from the scam.
Coupon Hacker Faces DMCA Lawsuit
By David Kravets 08.20.07 2:00 AM
John Stottlemire is accused of posting Coupon Inc.'s proprietary software online for consumer use, which allegedly violates the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
Photo: Courtesy of John Stottlemire
John Stottlemire is the DVD Jon of coupon-clipping, and it's getting him in trouble.
The California man is on the working end of a federal copyright lawsuit after posting code and instructions that allow shoppers to circumvent copy protection on downloadable, printable coupons -- the type used by General Foods, Colgate, Disney and others to sell everything from soap to breakfast cereal.
The coupons are distributed by Mountain View, California-based Coupons Inc. through ad banners, e-mail and its website, coupons.com. To use them, consumers must install Coupons Inc.'s proprietary software. The software assigns each user's computer a unique identifier, which the company uses to track and control the consumer's coupon-printing practices, usually limiting each user to two coupons per product. Each printed coupon has its own unique serial code.
In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in San Jose, California, last month, Coupons Inc. accuses Stottlemire of creating and giving away a program that erases the unique identifier, allowing consumers to repeatedly download and print as many copies of a particular coupon as they want.
The lawsuit also charges Stottlemire with posting tutorials on bargain-swapping sites *********.com and **************.net on how to manually defeat the print limit, which the complaint alleges "would allow users of that software to print an unlimited number of coupons from the coupons.com website."
Stottlemire, 42, of Fremont, California, insists there was no encryption or hacking involved, and therefore he did not violate the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. "I honestly think there are big problems when you are not allowed to delete files off of your computer," says Stottlemire.
To be sure, Stottlemire's work differs from the generic online copyright battles involving movies, music or even literature: He's accused of liberating something that is already free. But Coupons Inc. argues the coupon hack is no different from cracks like "DVD Jon" Johansen's program DeCSS.
Scores of companies contract with Coupons Inc. to release a limited number of coupons for each product. If somebody cracks the code and downloads hundreds or thousands of them, it's consumers who lose, according to CEO Jeff Weitzman.
"We're protecting copyrighted information that is free to consumers already," says Weitzman. "We're trying to make sure everybody can get their fair share."
Ironically, Stottlemire says his motive was to get a job at Coupons Inc. "My goal was to show Jeff my capabilities and to ask him for employment," he says. But motives aside, Stottlemire says the case now raises bigger issues: How can a computer owner be prohibited from deleting files from his own computer?
"All I did was erase files or registry keys," he says. "Nothing was hacked. Nothing was decoded that was any way, shape or form in the way the DMCA was written."
Legal experts aren't so sure.
"I think it's a pretty broad statute," says Carl Tobias, a professor at the University of Richmond School of Law. "It may cover this. I think it does give companies a lot of leverage and a lot of power."
Jim Gibson, a University of Virginia School of Law visiting scholar who teaches copyright law, suggests Stottlemire might be swimming in legally murky waters at best.
"He might be in trouble for providing technology that is designed for essentially hacking around copyright protection," Gibson says. "Whether as a matter of public policy there should be a claim against him is a completely different story."
Stottlemire says he's being sued because Coupons Inc. "does not have the technology in place that would limit the number of times that a person could print a coupon."
The 500 brands Coupons Inc. represents also suffer from fraud the old-fashioned way. They fall victim to photocopying of their coupons. Weitzman says the company shuts off coupon-printing access to violators if photocopied coupons with the same serial numbers show up at markets.
That hurts the companies' bottom line, Weitzman says.
"We monitor those things very carefully," he says. "If we do see duplicates coming through, we have ways from keeping people from printing coupons in the future."
The company wants Stottlemire to turn over the names of people he knows downloaded his software, and is seeking damages from the coder that could amount to hundreds of thousands -- or even millions -- of dollars. And it's not offering him 10 percent off.
Credit to: Wired.com