Mom-daughter duo caught in Coke contest scam

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A mother-daughter team who managed to manipulate a Coca-Cola bottle cap contest and steal more than $200,000 now must repay thousands of dollars to the Atlanta-based company, though not as much as they stole.

Carrie Jones, 55, and Sarah Jones, 31, both of Albany, Oregon, pleaded guilty recently to computer crime. They entered a four-month contest in 2011 that allowed consumers to text codes underneath caps on Coke products to see if they were winners. The winner then had to email the code to Coke for prizes that included concert tickets.

According to The Albany Democrat-Herald, contest rules said a person could win no more than twice and a household only five times during the promotion. A local detective said the two women created email addresses using other people’s identities and sold  prize codes “to various auction websites, and then directly to ticket brokers.”  It’s still a mystery how they got the winning prize codes.

Coca-Cola became suspicious and tracked the high number of winnings to a particular IP address in Albany. According to other local media reports, prosecutors said some of the winnings were sold on eBay, and they suspect others may have been involved in the scam.

Both daughter and mother, who also pleaded guilty to identity theft, received probation and were ordered to repay almost $50,000 in restitution.

27 comments Add your comment

Digger

February 26th, 2013
11:25 am

Why didn’t I think of that?

Ronald Reagan

February 26th, 2013
11:36 am

Not a bad return on their investment $200,000 on a promise to pay back $50,000.How much time it is if I don’t payback?

K-Ster

February 26th, 2013
11:38 am

That should teach Coke not to bother consumers with multi-step ‘application process’ for seeing if they are an ‘instant’ winner. Having to copy a small-print code underneath a bottle cap into a website, then to pretend like the code isn’t monitored by a software application which randomly decides if the code is a winner or not on the spot, and then being tracked for marketing purposes is nothing but a HUGE hassle. It’s like McDonald’s forcing Monopoly pieces to be decoded online to see if they are a winner. Why add the extra steps?

bob

February 26th, 2013
11:38 am

This is why i hate Oregon

rob

February 26th, 2013
11:44 am

wow, steal 200,000, pay back 50,000……not a bad take!……………(and this is why our country is going to the toilet!!!)

Zeitlan Kozan

February 26th, 2013
12:09 pm

Why and what does it matter the race of the alleged scammers? Maybe they were innocent and getting a raw deal. That should matter.

pb

February 26th, 2013
12:16 pm

Good point, Zetlan Lozan,

Some people just cannot resist a chance to make a racial comment, to stir up all the prejudiced people out there. Especially since they can do it anonymously, without anyone seeing their chicken little face.

wordsmith

February 26th, 2013
12:18 pm

Good on them. Nice to see American ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit alive and well.

Tom

February 26th, 2013
12:22 pm

The contest is a scam, so why not the participants?

Ann

February 26th, 2013
12:39 pm

@ Zeitlan Kozan – What do you mean “maybe they were innocent”? Twice, the article states that the two “plead guilty” to the crimes. If they were innocent, they would not have done so with this type of crime. I assume the guilty plea impacted the sentence given.

Well

February 26th, 2013
12:56 pm

@Ann Many times people are pressured into taking a plea. “If you don’t take the guilty plea, you could do 10-15 years, there is no guarantee the jury will find you innocent! Do you really want to take that chance”

shirley

February 26th, 2013
1:03 pm

It’s heartbreaking to know that so many of us believe we have to take from others in order to make it.

If this were so, God would be a liar. I don’t want to call God a liar. Do you?

Coke

February 26th, 2013
1:06 pm

Jesus loves me- this I know!

Herb

February 26th, 2013
1:09 pm

Hey Fran? It’s Herb!

tim

February 26th, 2013
1:11 pm

I always told my mother that crime pays…….

And this is proof.

@zeitlan…everyone in prison is innocent too.

MANGLER

February 26th, 2013
1:13 pm

I’d throw a rock at Shirley, but I wouldn’t want to hurt the rock.

David Puddy

February 26th, 2013
1:19 pm

Oregon has always been chucked full of outlaws.

Fran

February 26th, 2013
1:28 pm

Hey, Herb! Long time no hear. Where have you been????

Educator for Life

February 26th, 2013
1:29 pm

@Jim Crow, apparently, you weren’t smart enough to place an apostrophe in “I’m”. Wow, talk about looking stupid!

Herb

February 26th, 2013
1:33 pm

Just trrying to deal w/ these nut jobs on this site. Man there are some strange people in this world Fran. Love, Herb

chappy65`

February 26th, 2013
1:38 pm

I didn’t mean that as an expository on black crime. White politicans were cashing in on Atlanta far before others had an opportunity to.

Its nice to see that taking advantage of and trashing your cities resources is an equal opportunity crime. It gives many people a chance to see that white people are no more (or no less) capable of criminal activity. We are just alike!

Greg

February 26th, 2013
1:57 pm

The contest itself is a scam. Why not scam them back.

yeahhi

February 26th, 2013
2:17 pm

The Philosopher

February 26th, 2013
2:22 pm

Do these pants make my butt look big?

Jim P.

February 26th, 2013
2:27 pm

Not bad…bet they have never had a real job in their lives and they both are avid Obama supporters.

Overit2013

February 26th, 2013
2:39 pm

umm for those that wanted to know – their race is White

Lemondrop

February 26th, 2013
2:42 pm

I feel sorry for mom and daughter. Some people have to learn the hard, costly way in life.