County woman sentenced in Walmart coupon scam
A southern Indiana County woman who stole a quarter-million dollars from Walmart by manipulating coupon redemptions while employed by the retail giant was sentenced in Indiana County Court Friday to serve up to a year in jail.
But Eileen Zimmerman, 39, of Graceton, may avoid jail time if her application for intermediate house arrest — which would allow her to keep working at her new job — is approved.
President Judge William Martin sentenced Zimmerman to spend six to 12 months in the Indiana County Jail followed by six years on probation, pay a $500 fine and $313.50 as the cost of prosecution, and reimburse Walmart $254,638.50 after she pleaded guilty to theft.
State police in Indiana charged Zimmerman with stealing the money from the Walmart in Burrell Township starting in August 2010.
According to court documents, Zimmerman, while employed at Walmart, was responsible for balancing the day’s sales that involved coupons. An investigation started after a clearance house that pays Walmart for coupons reported a discrepancy of about $70,000 for coupons over a few months.
A store manager did some research and discovered that on days when Zimmerman worked in the store’s cash office, the coupon intake was about $1,300 daily. On days she did not work the coupon intake was around $500.
According to the court document, the manager reviewed days of shift surveillance video that showed Zimmerman at the beginning of her shift taking coupons from her pocket that she brought to work with her and artificially inflating the coupon intake for that day. Later, as she separated the store’s money, coupons and receipts for the day, she allegedly placed some folded bills on her desk, covered the money with a clipboard, and then reached under and placed the folded money in her pocket.
Martin delayed the start of Zimmerman’s jail term until July 26, allowing her and her attorney, Arthur McQuillan, of Johnstown, time to apply for intermediate house arrest, which the judge said may be a viable option in Zimmerman’s case.
“You’ve got a huge amount of restitution to pay,” Martin told her.
“She is extremely remorseful. … She has demonstrated an acceptance of responsibility for her actions,” McQuillan said of Zimmerman, adding she is now working at a new job in the restaurant industry and has already paid back more than $5,700 of the stolen money.