Taco Bell Owners Sued For Forcing Workers to Give Fake Money as Change

In Depth

The operators of two Manhattan Taco Bells have been handed a class-action lawsuit alleging they forced underage workers to hand out counterfeit $20 bills to customers as change.

The suit was filed by Annette Cirino on behalf of her 17-year-old daughter, an employee over the summer at both Taco Bell locations in upper Manhattan, and holy crap, are these owners terrible human beings as well as terrible criminals. That’s really saying something, considering they’re terrible criminals. The fake bills are smaller than a regular $20 and were most likely produced on a laser-jet printer, then run through a dryer.

Oh, but this gets so much worse. In order to prevent workers from immediately going to the police, the Taco Bell operators apparently told Cirino’s daughter (identified in the suit as “J.A.,” since she’s a minor) she had accidentally accepted two fake $20 bills from customers. To make up for it, she either had to pay them back out of pocket or hand out fake $20’s to customers, which she believed, because she’s a kid. After she did this, her managers made her continue giving out fake bills for two weeks, until she finally refused to keep doing it.

This is where it wanders from petty criminal douchebag into Holy Crap That’s Insane territory: on August 7, she was called into a meeting where four supervisors told her they were undercover cops from the NYPD, and that they were there to arrest her if she didn’t continue handing out fake bills. That is a hell of a long way to go to keep up a terribly-conceived con.

J.A. was taping the meeting, though, and had already recorded an earlier conversation about the fake bills. After the meeting broke up, she went straight to the police, who assured her that she wasn’t going to be arrested, and that there were no undercover cops at the Taco Bell (I mean, obviously to that last part).

No word yet on whether other employees were similarly taken advantage of, although the fact that it’s a class-action lawsuit would seem to indicate that such is the case. The NYPD has apparently not made any arrests in the case, although for obvious reasons, they can’t say whether there’s an ongoing investigation. Time will tell on this one.

Regardless, I can’t wait to see at least one Republican commenter claim the kid must’ve made the whole thing up, and how dare she try to slander the good name of such fine upstanding job creators.

Image via AP.

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