Queenpins: Is Simon Kilmurry Based on a Real US Postal Inspector?

Adapting a concise four-line news piece into a compelling narrative is a formidable challenge, yet the directors and writers of ‘Queenpins’ successfully achieved this feat. In Phoenix, Arizona, three women ingeniously transformed and upgraded coupons to higher values, selling them online. Their scheme inflicted substantial losses on major corporations, and it took several years for the extent of the scam to be uncovered. Once exposed, a collaborative effort ensued, uniting corporate entities and law enforcement to dismantle the illicit operation.

While ‘Queenpins’ draws inspiration from this real-life occurrence, it opts for a comedic lens and introduces fictional elements to weave a narrative centered around two women discovering happiness and freedom through their seemingly harmless scheme. The character responsible for uncovering their scam is Simon Kilmurry, a US Postal Inspector, played brilliantly by Vince Vaughn. Given the closeness to a real incident, there is a chance that he might be inspired by someone who was involved in the case.

Simon Kilmurry is not Inspired by an Actual Person

Like many other characters in the film, Simon Kilmurry is not based on a real person and is not a real US postal Inspector who was involved in the case. Writers and directors of the film, Aron Gaudet and Gita Pullapilly made him from scratch. While talking about how the film came to be in an interview, they said, “We contacted the detective and literally after we talked to him we were in a car driving to Phoenix to learn more about the story… We really took that and just created our own characters within that framework, and we wanted to say something with our characters. Connie, Jojo, Ken, and Simon aren’t based on anybody in the true story, but it’s really that framework of the scam and what they did with all the money when they got it and what they bought. “

In the film, Simon Kilmurry takes on the role of heading the investigation, led by the US Postal Department, into a coupon scam where counterfeit coupons were distributed to customers. The character is introduced to the case after Ken Miller, a loss prevention officer at a food mart, reports it to the FBI, though not taken seriously. In reality, large corporations like Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, and Hershey collaborated upon discovering the fraud. They hired private investigators, working alongside the Coupon Information Corporation, leading them to Phoenix, Arizona, and the involvement of three women: Robin Ramirez, Marilyn Johnson, and Amiko “Amy” Fountain.

In reality, the Phoenix Police Department, along with the FBI and the Coupon Information Corporation (CIC), conducted simultaneous raids at four different houses. They uncovered $40 million in counterfeit coupons and seized $2 million in assets from the three women, including four homes, 22 guns, a 40-foot speedboat, and 21 vehicles. The fraud was of significant magnitude and carried serious consequences. In contrast, the film portrays the US Postal Service, led by Simon Kilmurry, conducting the raids and making the arrests of the two women, Connie and Joanna.

The skill of the writers in crafting believable characters like Kilmurry, coupled with the dedication of actors like Vaughn, has lent a remarkable authenticity to the portrayal. The immersive performances make the audience ponder the realism of these characters, blurring the lines between fiction and reality. Such a level of detail and commitment in storytelling and acting elevates the film’s impact, sparking curiosity about the inspirations behind these characters and their counterparts.

Read More: Queenpins: Is Connie Kaminski Based on a Real Person? Where is She Today?