At some point, the thought that this was not a good idea had to cross the mind of Adrian Jean Pineda.
According to a Secret Service investigation, the Home Depot employee in Tempe, Arizona, used play money to steal $400,000 over four years.
Here’s how it went down. This past December, Home Depot contacted the Secret Service about the missing money. They discovered that the money had been taken and replaced by fake $100 bills purchased from Amazon.
It’s described as “Prop Money 100 Dollar Bills Realist Double-Sided Printing Fake Money That Looks Real for Party Decorations and Videos.” Nowhere in the description does it describe it as being ideal to use for massive fraud.
Pineda was in charge of counting the cash from the store, and placing it in a bag that was delivered to Wells Fargo. Allegedly, he put fake C-notes in the bag and kept piles of real cash for himself.
Surveillance cameras caught him allegedly putting fake cash in the registers. The plot went down from August 2018 through January of this year. It fell apart when a store manager confronted him recently, and he admitted to it, according to a NY Times story.
Pineda told authorities he had $22,000 sitting at home, which the Feds seized. He also was walking around with $5,300 in cash that he had stolen that day.
As the scam evolved, he became bolder, purchasing a new car and hiring a personal trainer.