The crime-comedy film, ‘Queenpins,’ follows the story of two women who come up with a unique way to make money. It begins with their love for coupons, something that they feel they are not appreciated for, considering how much they save through it in the long term. However, things take a turn when they discover they can make a lot of money by selling coupons. The idea begins with Connie Kaminski, who is the first one to notice how much people are ready to pay for coupons. While she ropes in Jojo Johnson to work with her, Connie is the brain behind the whole thing. What makes things more interesting is that she is inspired by a real person.
Connie Kaminski is a Fictional Rendering of a Real Queenpin
‘Queenpins’ is based on a real story of three women who made millions by selling coupons, including counterfeit ones. After hearing about their case, Aron Gaudet and Gita Pullapilly came up with the idea of a film. While they researched the case for primary details, they refrained from diving too deep into it. They also didn’t contact the real “queenpins” because they insisted that while the bones of the film were inspired by the real thing, all the events and the characters in the movie were entirely fictional.
In the movie, Connie Kaminski is the one who comes up with the idea of procuring free coupons and selling them. In real life, a woman named Robin Ramirez was credited with being the ringleader of the operation, through which she, Amiko Fountain, and Marilyn Johnson made millions of dollars. While Connie isn’t directly based on any of the three women, her character and the role she plays in the story correlate best with Ramirez, who is said to have started selling coupons around 2007. It was she who found the source of the coupons. She’d get them in bulk from overseas and then sell them for about half-price.
Reportedly, the buyers were encouraged to buy at least $50 worth of coupons, which saved them double or triple what they’d have to pay originally. After working alone for a while, she was joined by Fountain and Johnson, with one of them creating their own website to buy coupons from Ramirez and selling them on her own, which is also what several other customers resorted to. Through this, Ramirez stacked up quite a fortune.
In 2012, when Ramirez’s house was raided by the authorities, they found more than $25 million worth of fake coupons in her house. In addition to that, $2 million worth of assets, which includes guns, cars, and a speed boat, among other things, was also found in her possession. Reportedly, she’d rented an aircraft hangar where she kept the cars, which included a Corvette valued at over $150,000, the RV, and the speedboat, among other things. She was also found to have several bank accounts, which had millions of dollars stashed. In the end, everything seized from her was found to have been worth around $40 million.
Where is Robin Ramirez Now?
Robin Ramirez, along with Johnson and Fountain, was arrested in July 2012 and charged on several counts, which included counterfeiting, forgery, and money laundering, among other things. Johnson and Fountain, who joined the business later, testified against Ramirez, who later pleaded guilty to the charges of “fraud, counterfeiting, and illegal control of an enterprise” and was sentenced to two years in prison with seven years of probation. The forgery charges on her were dropped. Apart from the jail time, which her accomplices didn’t get, she was also ordered to pay $1,288,682 (which Johnson and Fountain also got in their sentencing) to Procter & Gamble for restitution of the losses they faced because of the illegal operation.
Since she was sentenced to prison time in 2013, it is fair to assume that she is out of there by now. Reportedly, her probation term was extended by five years due to her inability to pay for the restitution money, which, reports suggest, she was falling behind in by $4k at the time. Considering the hefty amount she has to pay and the fact that she doesn’t have any income to match that, it is assumed that she will have to keep working to clear the debt for a very long time.
While the making of movies about one’s life and crimes tends to benefit people financially, the same couldn’t happen for Ramirez and her accomplices as, according to Arizona law, they are forbidden from making money by selling their crime stories. Considering everything, Ramirez has found it best to continue staying in the shadows and live a quiet life, still making up for her crimes.