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La. man gets 41 months for fake coupon scheme on dark Web

La. man gets 41 months for fake coupon scheme on dark Web
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A Louisiana resident has been sentenced to 41 months for running a counterfeit coupon operation on the dark Web.

Beau Wattigney, 30, who lives in New Orleans, was arrested in May for orchestrating the million-dollar fraud through the infamous Silk Road, an anonymous online network that trafficked anything from narcotics to firearms to hacking tools.

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Wattigney pleaded guilty in July.

In his guilty plea, Wattigney admitted to running the digital scheme from May 2012 to November 2014 using various online monikers such as PurpleLotus, GoldenLotus and CouponKing.

Wattigney worked with co-conspirators to make fraudulent coupons that used trademarked logos of well-known coupon distributors like Hopster, Coupons.com, SmartSource and RedPlum.

The operation ultimately sold over $1 million worth of counterfeit coupons, affecting over 50 businesses, according to the plea.

Since the initial arrest, federal officials have been promoting the case as part of a broader crackdown on cyber crime.

Over the past few years, the Department of Justice has stepped up prosecutions of cyber crooks and busted several anonymous online markets, including Silk Road.

These dark Web markets operate over the Tor network, which sends users’ activity through a series of nodes, cloaking their identity and location. Customers also use largely untraceable digital currencies, such as bitcoin, to make transactions.

Authorities have taken down two iterations of Silk Road, including the one Wattigney used to sell fake coupons. More recently, governments united across 20 countries to bust an elite hacking forum known as Darkode.