Taco Bell Cashier Forced to Hand Out Counterfeit Bills As Change

Upon refusing, supervisors posed as undercover NYPD officers

The owners of two Manhattan Taco Bells are facing class-action lawsuits for running what may be the most poorly thought out scam in recent memory, after they allegedly forced a young employee, via increasingly intimidating and absurd methods, to hand customers counterfeit $20 bills as change.

As the suit claims, a 17-year-old worker identified as "J.A." was told by management that she had accidentally accepted two of the fake bills while working behind the counter, and could either pay the sum back out of pocket or hand them out to customers. She obliged for two weeks--hey, you probably would too if you were 17 and had your job on the line--at which point she refused to continue. The worker's lawyer, Richard Garbarini, told the New York Post that the fake bills were "terrible," probably printed on laser-jet printer and run through a dryer for texture. To make the scheme work, managers threw out a "no large bills" policy, accepting $50 and $100 bills in order to use the counterfeit $20s as change.

After refusing to participate in the fraud any longer, J.A. was allegedly called into a meeting where four supervisors posed as undercover NYPD officers, who told her that she would be arrested...unless she continued handing out the fake bills.

Unbeknownst to the master criminals, the young worker was recording the conversation--which she then presented to the real police, along with one of those laser-printed $20s for evidence. According to the suit, "A kind sergeant spent 30 minutes listening...and repeatedly reassured her she was never going to be arrested, and there were no undercover cops in the Taco Bell."

The NYPD has not made any arrests at this time, and can't specify whether there's an ongoing investigation. At this point, it's also unknown whether other employees were manipulated into participating in the scam.

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Michelle Poirier

Probably a franchise owned by an Arab, Jew, or South Asian franchisee.

September 24 2014 at 10:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
DJ Homeless

Fake bills, fake beef.

September 23 2014 at 6:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I would think one requirement to be a Taco Bell manager is a small degree of intelligence and beyond that some sense of morality. The people who forced that 17 year old to participate in their illegal scheme should be arrested for stupid if nothing else, and I expect there will be several "Nothing else's" when the real cops and DA are through with their investigation. These managers are, in my opinion, people in a position of trust who took advantage of their status to force a hard working and well intended 17 year old to perpetrate illegality on a number of occasions. Also, I might add, impersonating law enforcement is against the law everywhere in the US. The thought that this transgression on the part of management might not be limited to this one young woman is even more disturbing.

Taco Bell corporate has a serious problem on their hands and owes this young employee serious compensation for the abuse experienced under their name. Without doubt this scheme is limited to these few individuals and locations in question and is not the fault of Taco Bell corporate but still its their name being dragged through the mud. This young lady showed her worth in standing up for what is right in the face of intimidation and threat and she did the right thing, now it would be noteworthy to see that Taco Bell in turn does the right thing by her.

Whoever you are Miss, good for you and those who raised you to stand up and speak for yourself and not be intimidated in a situation where most others would fold or quit. Any company should be proud to have you as one of their employees.

September 23 2014 at 6:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Brought to you by the people who voted for Obama, twice.

September 22 2014 at 11:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to primm49's comment
DJ Homeless

**** off, Nazi.

September 23 2014 at 6:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

those were the "Al Fresco" bills

September 16 2014 at 11:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't believe that she accepted fake bills. I think the owner was printing fake money..

September 08 2014 at 5:41 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to dazedboy420's comment

I agree

September 11 2014 at 1:20 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

If she said the bills are phony and poorly printed than why she accept them? This is confusing to me! And couldn't she get ride of 2 bills in one day? AOL story sounds fuzzy!

September 08 2014 at 5:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to dazedboy420's comment

There is a question as to whether she actually accepted them, or whether the managers simply said she did, to make her complicit and then blackmail her into continuing.

September 11 2014 at 1:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Where did all the counterfeit bills come from? I am confused into how this all came about being.

September 08 2014 at 5:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to jac52683's comment

It doesn't say it in the article but I would think the supervisor(s) were printing the bills and exchanging them for real bills in the cashier's drawer. Since they were poorly printed she probably noticed and they turned it back around on her saying she took them from customers, and told her to hand them out to avoid getting in trouble.
What I think is funny is that the supervisors were stupid enough to pose as cops and tell her to continue to hand out the bills or be arrested. Like a real cop would tell you to hand out poorly printed bogus bills. Not the brightest bunch, they surely deserve minimum wage.

September 09 2014 at 7:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to j4bs4209333's comment


September 11 2014 at 1:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down

The managers supplied them

September 11 2014 at 1:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm confused. The clerk accepted 2 bills and then had to pass them out as change for 2 weeks?? How many bills were total because it is not mentioned in the story.

September 04 2014 at 6:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

And Taco Bell is getting so expensive.

August 31 2014 at 12:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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