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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those were the "Al Fresco" bills

Tuesday at 11:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dazedboy420

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
Karen

I agree

Thursday at 1:20 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
dazedboy420

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
Karen

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.

Thursday at 1:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jac52683

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
j4bs4209333

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
Karen

exactly

Thursday at 1:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down
Karen

The managers supplied them

Thursday at 1:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
babyrnliz

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
nannymel

And Taco Bell is getting so expensive.

August 31 2014 at 12:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
grendelking36

I'm 50 years old and I've gone to Taco Smell only twice. I'm not a huge fan of fake Mexican food.

August 30 2014 at 6:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to grendelking36's comment
mrdata98

FYI - Taco Bell has never claimed to be Mexican food.

September 08 2014 at 4:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Judith

It's not "fake" any more than is any other Tex-Mex food, which started out as a Texas version of Northern Mexican food some time in the 1940s. However, it has since become thought of as Mexican food throughout this country. My favorite Mexican restaurant does not serve Tex-Mex food. For instance, tacos de harina are on the menu and are very different from the fat-laden Tex-Mex invention called the burrito. Ropa vieja is on the menu but the Tex-Mex version, i.e., fajitas, are not. Bottom line - IMO Taco Bell and other Tex-Mex foods are not fake Mexican, they're just different versions of Mexican, and once every so often I'll have a Taco Bell hard-shelled taco or a "Mexican" pizza. They taste good and I'm not a food snob.

Yesterday at 1:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Annie

OMG how hilarious Taco Bell announced today their new promo going on and are literally giving out 11 Taco Bell Dollars! These offer the winner free food for life! Haha saw that on the news! Today! As for no arrests.. no NYPD wont be doing that arrest! That is Feds territory, and then you have that so called ?meeting? By fooling her out of fear, that can be kidnapping possibly, Now since there were 4 of them, now you have Conspiracy to commit criminal acts, these DORKS bought themselves some very serious trouble, and an example should be made so the fear alone will make people not think of COPYCATTING this bonehead idea.

August 28 2014 at 11:49 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Annie's comment
catwomencjk

If only that were true.. You've overlooked the challenge the crooks will undertake. You must be a very
optimistic person, thinking that right prevails and the bad guys get blown away. Keep your purse filled with
Small denominations and pay that way. Better yet avoid fast food taco hell and the others. It's totally bad
for you. Expensive and blah blah. Then consider the higher cost when minimum wage is enacted.

September 03 2014 at 12:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Wednes

As if fast food work isn't terrible enough...

August 27 2014 at 3:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
maddenhead99

Expect the SS to be knocking on the door VERY soon taco bell employees.

August 26 2014 at 1:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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