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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.