Home Crime Home Depot worker allegedly swapped $387,500 in play money for real bills – The Guardian

Home Depot worker allegedly swapped $387,500 in play money for real bills – The Guardian

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Home Depot worker allegedly swapped $387,500 in play money for real bills – The Guardian

Arizona man was arrested after it was discovered he was stuffing real money into his pocket and replacing the bills with fake ones
Last modified on Tue 8 Feb 2022 08.00 EST
An employee at a Home Depot in Arizona has scammed the company out of hundreds of thousands of dollars since 2018, by swapping out cash from the registers for fake $100 bills, according to a criminal complaint.
Adrian Jean Pineda, who used to be in charge of counting the money in Home Depot registers in Tempe, allegedly siphoned $387,500 over four years through this scheme, the New York Times reported.

Pineda was tasked to bag the cash from the registers, put it in sealed bags and move it to an account at a Wells Fargo Bank, an access that allowed him to evade “the first layer of counterfeit detection – the cashier”, Frank Boudreaux Jr of the Secret Service told the Times.
During this time, Pineda lived a lifestyle far beyond his means, according to Boudreaux, including buying a new car and hiring a personal trainer.
In security footage, Pineda was reportedly seen stuffing bundles of real money into his pocket, and replacing the original notes with fake ones after cashiers brought him the registers’ bills.
Boudreaux said investigators subpoenaed Pineda’s Amazon records – and the value of the fake bills he purchased mirrored the amount that Home Depot was reporting as their loss.
After a manager confronted Pineda, he admitted to trading out the bills, the complaint said. Boudreaux said Pineda had agreed to pay restitution.
Fake dollar bills are not hard to get online, and the ones Pineda allegedly used to scam his employers had “PLAYMONEY” written in place of serial numbers.
On Amazon, there are scores of “prop money” listings from numerous sellers, most of them with high reviews.
An Amazon search for “prop money” generates suggestions for more specific searches such as “prop money 100 dollar bills realistic”.
For about $8, buyers can purchase 150 “pieces” that include bills and coins. The products on Amazon are advertised as “pretend play” for children or for “educational” purposes.
And they seem to be a favorite for parents as well.
“If you do not feel it, or read the small print, you will totally believe it is real money,” reads a review of one such product that received 4.5 stars.
In a statement to the Times, Amazon said company policy bars fake currency “that is not prominently and permanently marked ‘COPY”.
While there are clear indicators of real money, such as cotton and linen texture, Boudreaux said the fake notes still caused a lot of damage.

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