New Orleans Man Faces Dark Web Fraud Charges

     (CN) – A New Orleans man was charged Thursday with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and trademark counterfeiting by selling fake coupons on the Silk Road online marketplace.
     Silk Road was an online black market on the so-called “dark web” where illegal drugs, goods and services could be purchased until it was shut down by the feds in 2013, and again in November 2014.
     Beau Wattigney, 30, of New Orleans, allegedly created counterfeit coupons and used Silk Road to sell them.
     According to documents filed in the New Orleans Federal Court on Thursday, Wattigney allegedly designed the coupons to look like print-at-home manufacturers’ coupons.
     The coupons included counterfeit trademarks for many prominent coupon distribution services, including Hopster, Coupons.com, SmartSource and RedPlum, the government says.
     Wattigney allegedly sold the coupons in a selection called “The Original S.R. Exclusive Coupon Collection” for approximately $50.
     Among Wattigney’s coupons, prosecutors said, is one which allowed users to purchase $50 Visa Gift Cards for $.01 each.
     The coupons Wattigney allegedly sold on Silk Road affected more than 50 manufacturers, retailers and online coupon distributers. If redeemed, the coupons could have resulted in a loss to affected businesses of more than $1 million, according to the Department of Justice.
     Wattigney’s initial court appearance and formal arraignment is scheduled for June 12.

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