Queenpins True Story: The Real-Life Inspiration Explained

The comedy Queenpinswhich is about two friends behind a massive coupon scheme, is based on a true story. Queenpins reunites actors Kristen Bell and Kirby Howell-Baptiste – who performed together in Veronica Mars and The good place – as Connie Kaminiski and JoJo Johnson respectively. In the film, Connie receives a coupon as an apology after she complains to a company about stale grain. This incident sets in motion an idea that ends up giving her and her best friend JoJo a lot of money. Queenpins’ The true story is based on the coupon scam designed by three women in Arizona: Robin Ramirez, Marilyn Johnson and Amiko “Amy” Fountain.


Queenpins’ cast also includes famous faces like Bebe Rexha, Vince Vaughn and Joel McHale in supporting roles. IN Queenpins, Connie and JoJo’s idea of ​​reselling stolen coupons is quickly gaining ground online, and the two find themselves as leaders of a lucrative illegal operation. To keep police off track, Connie and JoJo enlist the help of tech genius Tempe Tina (Bebe Rexha). The sudden influx of invalid coupons nonetheless attracts the attention of a grocery chain’s loss prevention officer, Ken Miller (Paul Walter Hauser), who helps a U.S. Postal Inspector, Simon Kilmurry (Vince Vaughn), uncover where the illegal coupons are coming from. QueenpinsThe true story is much more complicated, as the coupon scam was much more complicated than the movie made it out to be.

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The $ 40 million coupon scam may seem like a fiction, though Queenpins’ true story is inspired by a true crime story. In 2012, Arizona police arrested three women in possession of fake coupons worth millions of dollars. Illegal coupon may not sound like a big deal, but on a large scale, it can cost companies millions of dollars in lost revenue. Queenpins‘true story scam inspired the film, but it’s not a completely accurate retelling.

Queenpins is based (loosely) on a true story

Bell and Howell-Baptiste in Queenpins

Queenpins is based on a real-life coupon scam orchestrated by three women in Arizona: Robin Ramirez, Marilyn Johnson and Amiko “Amy” Fountain. Ramirez, who was 40 years old at the time of his arrest, was considered the group’s leader. Johnson, then 54, and Fountain, 42, helped her with the surgery, which gave them millions. That American true-crime story captured Sgt. David Lake of the Phoenix Police Department, who told local television station KPHO [via Coupons in the News]: “The opulence and the money were similar to drug cartel-like things“Regardless of the women’s financial situation before they started the scheme, they lived in luxury when it ended. The coupon scam was featured in the CBS documentary series Pink Collar Crimes in 2018, and Queenpins takes a more comical approach to history. QueenpinsThe true story, on the other hand, is not comical in any way, as the women had to pay a large sum and do something hard for the scam.

Real-Life Coupon Scams: How It Worked


Coupons in the news reports that Ramirez began selling counterfeit coupons as early as 2007. Her system involved sending coupons abroad to be reproduced and counterfeited in large quantities. Like others true crime movies like Leonardo DiCaprios Wolf of WallstreetQueenpins‘The true story has somewhat disappeared for the sake of time, and the coupon scam itself was a victim of this. These coupons would be turned into great deals. For example, a real coupon for $ 1 off Pringles could be changed to free dog food worth $ 50. Some customers later admitted that the deals seemed too good to be true, but they never wanted to question such happiness.

Johnson helped pack and ship orders, and Fountain sometimes added hologram stickers to the fake coupons to make them look more legitimate. The coupons were then sold on eBay from several different accounts as well as from the group’s own website, SavvyShopperSite. This site required an invitation to access and also included a warning not to share freely where customers purchased the coupons.

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Who is The Real-Life Queenpins

Queenpins Kristen Bell

Queenpins‘The true story ends with the coupon scam alone. The good place‘s Kristen Bell and Kirby Howell-Baptiste does not technically represent any of the three women as a whole. Therefore, Queenpins is really more “inspired” by a true story rather than based on one. The real Queenpins were three Phoenix, Arizona-based women named Robin Ramirez, Marilyn Johnson and Amiko “Amy” Fountain. Robin Ramirez is said to be the mastermind of the operation and was the only one jailed for the scam. Ramirez originally started the coupon scam on her own when she started selling counterfeit coupons back in 2007 and was later joined by Johnson and Fountain after seeing the financial potential of the scam.

While Connie and JoJo shared equal weight in their partnership, like Jonah Hill and Miles Count In War dogs, Queenpins’ true story has Robin Ramirez in the front line when she really was the brains behind the whole operation. She would have legitimate coupons reproduced abroad in large quantities and then sell them through her eBay account. During the trial in 2013, both Amiko Fountain and Marylin Johnson agreed to testify against the principal, prompting Ramirez to change his confession to “guilty.” While Robin was the only one sentenced to prison, all three were forced to pay compensation to Proctor and Gamble of $ 1.2 million. Since the state of Arizona prohibits criminals from making money selling their stories, none of the women will make a dime out of 2021 film Queenpins. Fountain and Johnson still live and work in the Phoenix area and appear to have put the incident behind them. Ramirez, on the other hand, has had her probation extended several times, and based on her meager monthly repayment payments, she will be able to pay it down in about 120 years.

What happened to the Real-Life coupon “Queenpins”?

Queenpins Ken and Simon

Like at the end of the movie, the women’s fortune eventually came to an end in Queenpins‘ true story. One of the victims companies, Procter & Gamble, initiated an investigation when they discovered some of the fake coupons during a routine audit. Forty companies eventually filed fraud complaints and alerted Coupon Information Corporation and local police. Private investigators worked with the Phoenix Police Department, which went undercover to track down the three women involved. The investigation lasted eight weeks, with officers posing as customers who bought some of the counterfeit coupons. 2013 American true-crime story was initially forgotten until Queenpins brought it back into the light.

Queenpins’ true story is much less comical than Kristen Bell and Kirby Howell-Baptiste’s rendering of the story. A police raid found more than $ 40 million in fake coupons along with $ 2 million in other assets, including 22 weapons, cash, 21 vehicles and a speedboat. Ramirez, Fountain and Johnson were all arrested. Fountain and Johnson eventually pleaded guilty to forgery, and Ramirez pleaded guilty to forgery, fraud and unlawful control of a business. She was sentenced to 3 years in prison and seven years probation, while her friends served 3 years probation. Queenpins’ The true story is not quite the ridiculous case The woman in the house actress Kristen Bell and Kirby Howell-Baptiste makes it.

Related: True Detective Season 1: Real Life Crime Inspiration Explained

Everything the movie changes

bebe rexha i queenpins

Queenpins’ true story is markedly different from the movie. IN Queenpins, authorities are only becoming aware of a potential problem when a loss prevention worker working for the grocery chain A&G Family Mart receives several complaints about fraudulent coupons. He initially goes to the FBI for help, but the case is transferred to a U.S. Postal Inspector as the coupons are physically sent out (makes the scam mail a scam). This angle allows the film to be more comical in how it covered the study; it also removes focus from the damage the scam did to the companies. Although the film mentions Procter & Gamble by name, the companies are portrayed as not really affected by the scam – instead, the event is framed as “just a depreciation” for them.

Inspector Simon Kilmurry (played by Struggling with my family‘s Vince Vaughn) would have suffered a lot more in real life than he did in the movie. In fact, P&G received financial compensation for the loss in revenue. Other companies also asked for a refund, but could not prove that their products were involved in the coupon scheme. Queenpins chose not to include the allowance the women were sentenced to pay, most likely to make them appear more sympathetic to the audience. It’s much easier to find characters whose actions do not actually cause any lasting damage. Other important changes in Queenpins is also intended to make the two main women even more enthusiastic about the audience. Connie chooses to take full responsibility for their crimes to protect JoJo. Still in Queenpins‘true story, Johnson and Fountain turned on Ramirez in exchange for lighter sentences. The film also provides Frozen actress Kristen Bell’s Connie and tragic backstory. Pregnancy complications are the cause of her and her husband’s financial struggles, which lead her towards extreme money-making schemes.

The film simplifies Queenpins‘true story and also the women’s counterfeiting system. In real life, they would send real coupons abroad to be modified and mass-produced. IN Queenpins, they simply stole excess coupons from a factory in Mexico. All their “fake” coupons were actually genuine, they were just distributed in much larger quantities than the companies wanted. Queenpins also reduces women’s penalties. JoJo receives 10 days in jail and one year probation, while Connie receives 11 months in jail. None of them, however, learn their lesson from this the movie Queenpins because the movie ends with Connie and JoJo planning to start their coupon scam again, this time abroad.

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