Story by Lon Tytell
The successful gift certificate program sponsored by the Warwick Merchants Guild was adversely affected by the sudden appearance of counterfeit gift certificates. Corrine Iurato, the manager of Peck’s Wine and Spirits, discovered the fake certificates when she received them from a customer. She soon notified the other merchants in the Village of Warwick. Style Counsel, Newhards The Home Source, and Ye Olde Warwick Book Shoppe also found fake certificates.
The counterfeit $10 gift certificates contain the same numbers and the same date as the real gift certificates issued by the Merchants Guild. The real certificates are also hunter green and the counterfeit certificates are teal blue in color and have thicker paper than the original certificates. All gift certificates, including the real and bogus ones, have been handed over to the Warwick Police Department for investigation.
Mary Beth Schlichting, co-owner of Frazzleberries, said, “We don’t want the integrity of the program to be compromised. It is very successful. It is heartbreaking it has come to this. Debbie Iurato, who recently passed away, and who was the treasurer of the Warwick Merchants Guild, and myself had looked into the possibility of a gift card but we decided on the gift certificate program because the gift card would have been too expensive to implement.”
Tom Roberts, president of the Warwick Merchants Guild and owner of Ye Old Warwick Book Shoppe added, “We are looking for a quick resolve to the problem.”
“We are working with Warwick Press to come up with a new concept, possibly adding a watermark and changing the format of the certificate so it can’t be easily copied,” Iurato added.
The Warwick Merchants Guild is an organization that promotes business in the Village of Warwick. Events and causes sponsored by the Merchants Guild include Ladies Night Out, Home for the Holidays, Horse and Buggy Rides, the annual Sidewalk Sale, Literacy Orange, Safe Homes of Orange County, and the Gingerbread House Contest.