West Melbourne Publix scam relied on fraudulent coupons, police say

MELBOURNE, Fla. – Three people face fraud and theft charges in connection with what West Melbourne police described as a grocery coupon scam.

Local 6 news partner Florida Today reports Matthew Heath, 28; Jennifer Ann Bailey, 31; and Debbie Dalton, 50, face grand theft and fraud charges.

Police officers arrested Heath and Bailey on July 22. As of Thursday, police had not arrested Dalton.

According to police, Heath, an employee at Publix in West Melbourne, accepted fraudulent coupons from Bailey and Dalton as part of a scheme that netted them hundreds of dollars in free and heavily discounted groceries.

Police said they viewed transactions involving the three on July 15 and July 18.

During one incident, Bailey took what is described in the arrest affidavit as a "large quantity" of items in her shopping cart and then went to Heath's register.

Heath scanned the groceries and entered $626.67 worth of coupons. Bailey's total bill reportedly came to $20.87, according to authorities.

The scheme had been going on since April or May, police allege.

Police said the pair took between $600 and $700 in merchandise each time.