let ee show you Who Is Queenpins Based On, In the movie, Connie gets a discount after she complains to a company about stale cereal. This gives her and her best friend JoJo an idea that makes them both very rich. Queenpins is based on a couponing scheme that was made up by three women from Arizona: Robin Ramirez, Marilyn Johnson, and Amiko “Amy” Fountain.
Who Are The Real-Life Queenpins
The real story of Queenpins ends with the coupon scam. Kristen Bell and Kirby Howell-Baptiste, who play Kristin and Kirby on The Good Place, don’t really stand in for any of the three women as a whole. So, Queenpins is not so much “based” on a true story as it is “inspired” by one.
Three women from Phoenix, Arizona, named Robin Ramirez, Marilyn Johnson, and Amiko “Amy” Fountain were the real-life Queenpins. Robin Ramirez is said to have been in charge of the scam, and he was the only one who went to jail for it. Ramirez started the couponing scam by herself when she started selling fake coupons in 2007.
Johnson and Fountain later joined the scam when they saw how much money it could make.
Connie and JoJo were equal partners, like Jonah Hill and Miles Teller in War Dogs. However, in the real story of Queenpins, it was really Robin Ramirez who was the brains behind the whole thing. She would have many copies of real coupons made overseas and then sell them through her eBay account. During the trial in 2013, both Amiko Fountain and Marylin Johnson agreed to testify against the ringleader.
This made Ramirez change her plea to “guilty.” Robin was the only one who went to jail, but all three had to pay $1.2 million in restitution to Proctor and Gamble. Since it is against the law in Arizona for criminals to make money by selling their stories, none of the women will get paid for the 2021 movie Queenpins.
Fountain and Johnson still live and work in the Phoenix area, and it seems like they have moved on from what happened. Ramirez’s probation, on the other hand, has been extended more than once, and her small monthly payments toward restitution mean that she won’t be able to pay it off for about 120 years.
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How the Real Queenpins Scheme Worked?
Here’s how the real Queenpins fake coupon ring worked: People would buy the coupons on sites like eBay or be invited or told to visit the ring’s website, savvyshoppersite.com. Once there, buyers would be able to choose from many coupons worth a lot of money.
KTAR News, a radio station in Phoenix, says that the group focused on coupons from manufacturers, which usually offer a free item or a big discount. One law enforcement official said that these were not “fifty-cents-off coupons” like you might find in your mailbox.
The women promised a return rate of 100% if a store turned down one of their coupons. If their deals had been a little worse, the women might not have been found.
Forty businesses, including big ones like Proctor & Gamble, Hershey, and PepsiCo, filed fraud complaints, which brought the scheme to an end. After figuring out that the ring was based in Phoenix, the FBI worked with local police to bust the group. Time magazine says that as part of their search for the source, they went undercover and bought coupons.
The money from the ring was kept in twelve different bank accounts. In one account, there was more than $2 million. In the end, the authorities were able to track Ramirez’s actions back to 2007.
How Was the Actual Coupon Scam Operated?
Coupons in the News says that Ramirez began selling fake coupons in 2007. Her plan was to send coupons overseas to be made in large numbers and faked. Like other true-crime movies, like The Wolf of Wall Street with Leonardo DiCaprio, Queenpins simplifies the real story to save time, which hurts the couponing scam itself.
These coupons would be turned into deals that are hard to believe. For example, you could trade a valid coupon for $1 off Pringles for $50 worth of free dog food. But they never asked why they were so lucky.
Johnson helped package and send out orders, and Fountain sometimes put hologram stickers on fake coupons to make them look more real.
After that, the coupons were sold through multiple accounts on eBay as well as the group’s website, SavvyShopperSite. To get to this website, you had to be invited, and there was a warning not to tell anyone where customers bought coupons.
How Did the Queenpins Get Capture?
Forty companies, including big ones like Proctor & Gamble, Hershey, and PepsiCo, filed fraud complaints, which ended the scheme. After finding out that the group started in Phoenix, the FBI worked with local police to break up the group.
What Were the Women’s Punishments?
In July 2012, Robin Ramirez, Marilyn Johnson, and Amiko Fountain, who worked with her in the Arizona coupon ring, were all caught. They were accused of many crimes, such as counterfeiting, forgery, running an illegal business, laundering money, and more. There are pictures of the real women behind Queenpins below.
Leader Ramirez pleaded guilty to fraud, making fake money, and running an illegal business. The forgery charge was dropped. After two years in jail, the person was on probation for seven years. She was the only one of the three who had to go to jail.
Johnson and Fountain, who helped her, both admitted to one count of counterfeiting. The court told all three women to pay back $1,288,682 in damages to Procter & Gamble. Unilever tried to get the women to pay back the money but was unable to do so. Critics said that the punishment wasn’t harsh enough and wouldn’t stop people from forging coupons in the future.