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Inside a Giant Dark Web Coupon Counterfeiting Scheme

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The dark web has become notorious for the sale of drugs, stolen financial data, and even guns, but in their latest crackdown, the feds are dragging another unlikely cash cow of the contraband underground into the spotlight: counterfeit coupons. These fakes were good for hundreds of millions of dollars worth of every consumer product from kitty litter to Clif bars to condoms.

On Thursday, the FBI indicted 30-year old Beau Wattigney, a Louisiana-based technician for ITT Technical Institute, on charges of wire fraud and trademark counterfeiting on the Dark Web marketplaces Silk Road and Silk Road 2. More specifically, Wattigney is accused of being the online coupon kingpin known as ThePurpleLotus or TheGoldenLotus, a figure who sold packages of coupons for virtually every consumer product imaginable including alcohol, cigarettes, cleaning supplies, beauty products, video games, and consumer electronics. The spoofed coupons—in most cases offering discounts just as effective...(continued)

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