Bizarrely, 38 year old Ashok Patel used fake barcodes to save the massive total of $20 on four bottles of mouthwash – for which he faced 20 weeks in prison – although he did have previous convictions including fraud and forgery, and had only recently come out of jail for a previous offense.
On a much larger scale were a ring of conspirators who operated in the Illinois, Texas, Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania areas. Led by Tommy Joe Tidwell of Dayton, Ohio, this ring managed to rake in more than $1 million using a UPC barcode scam in only one year. Tidwell produced the fake barcodes on his PC at home and also sold the items on eBay – his account there had glowing reviews and only 4 negative comments out of a total of 522. Local law enforcement and the FBI eventually managed to arrest him. He was sentenced to seven years behind bars.
In July of 2012 a mother from the UK was arrested for the same scheme – also targeting expensive toy products such as the Star Wars Lego sets. Barbara Aqueweque managed to pull the con off at three or four shops a day, spending around $80 dollars per day – but making around $1000 dollars a day selling them on eBay. She was found out via surveillance camera footage in April.