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Woman pleads guilty to $225,000 coupon theft

by HEATHER ROTH on April 09, 2013 11:00 AM

A Homer City woman has pleaded guilty to stealing a little more than $255,000 from Walmart through a coupon-fraud scheme.

Eileen Horst Zimmerman, 39, pleaded guilty to a felony count of theft before President Judge William Martin on Friday. A charge of receiving stolen property was dropped.

District Attorney Patrick Dougherty said today that Zimmerman will face jail time and will be required to repay the money she stole.

“She basically admitted the entire time that she did this. This wasn’t a matter of her fighting, saying, ‘I didn’t do this.’ Basically once she was caught she pretty much owned up to it,” Dougherty said.

Zimmerman was charged last May with stealing money from the Burrell Township Walmart starting in August 2010. According to the criminal complaint, a clearance house that pays Walmart for coupons noticed a discrepancy of about $70,000 for coupons over a few months. A manager then noticed that the coupon intake was about $800 more than normal on the days Zimmerman worked, then looked at surveillance video for Zimmerman’s shifts.

According to the complaint, the videos showed Zimmerman taking coupons from her pocket at the beginning of her shift to inflate the coupon intake for the day. When she later separated the money, coupons and receipts for the day, the videos showed her putting some folded bills on her desk, covering them with a clipboard, then reaching under and putting the money in her pocket.

Zimmerman remains free on an unsecured $50,000 bond. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 28 before Martin.

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