Contains spoilers for Queenpins

It’s early doors in 2024 and a movie about a couple of women who have no money using coupons to defraud big companies is no.1 on Netflix UK. It figures.

Written and directed by Aron Gaudet and Gita Pullapilly, Queenpins was originally released in 2021 to Showtime and Paramount+ but now it has appeared on Netflix UK it seems to have captured a new audience. 

The movie stars Kristen Bell, reunited with her The Good Place co-star Kirby Howell-Baptiste as skint friends who come up with a scheme to sell stolen coupons over the internet at a very cut down price. The women make millions but, not being criminal masterminds, they get caught and prosecuted, with Bell’s Connie serving jail time, and Howell-Baptiste’s JoJo getting a more lenient non-custodial sentence. 

The film is fiction but it is inspired by a real case that went down in 2012, with the case going to court in 2013.

What was the scam?

In the film they are stealing coupons from a factory, via a Mexican worker (who’s being paid $2 an hour). In real life the perps had fake coupons made in bulk overseas and sold them on their website – these coupons were for massive discounts or free items and the women were flogging them at a very reduced price.

Who were the scammers?

In this case there were three, these were Robin Ramirez, Amiko Fountain, and Marilyn Johnson and they did indeed all live in Phoenix. The police found more than $25 million dollars of fake coupons in Ramirez’ house.

What about all the ‘stuff’?

The stuff! That was real, though we’ve not read anything to suggest the women bought the stuff because they didn’t understand money laundering and thought the cash was dirty. The police seized more than $2 million dollars worth of assets including 22 assault weapons, 21 vehicles, and a 40-foot boat. 

What was the sentence?

Not 11 months as was suggested in the movie but it was a fairly lenient one comparatively. Ramirez was sentenced to 24 months in prison and 7 years of probation – she pled guilty to counterfeiting, fraud, and illegal control of an enterprise. Fountain and Johnson were charged with and pleaded guilty to one count of counterfeiting. The three women were also ordered to pay Proctor and Gamble $1,288,682 to cover their losses and the cost of sorting the whole mess out. 

The happy ending in the movie where the women take the rest of the money, move somewhere warm and set up a whole new scamming business is pure fantasy, though in 2021 it’s a fitting end. Queenpins is a comedy, put out during a time of massive financial instability, and a cost of living crisis. These women are very much Robin Hood type figures, before they get carried away what they plan to do with the money is for JoJo to pay off her mother’s mortgage and for Connie to get another round of extremely expensive fertility treatment.

A feel good film at the right time then.

Queenpins is available to watch on Netflix UK.

The post Queenpins: The True Story Behind the Movie appeared first on Den of Geek.

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