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Texas woman sues Wal-Mart for ripping up her $100 bills

September 18, 2012|By Rene Lynch
  • Real or not? If you rip some up and are then ordered by police to reimburse their owner, they're real.
Real or not? If you rip some up and are then ordered by police to reimburse… (Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles…)

A Texas woman says she was humiliated when Wal-Mart employees tore up two of her $100 bills, mistakenly believing those Benjamins were counterfeits.

No surprise: A lawsuit is pending.

Here's what happened, according to the complaint, which was obtained by Courthouse News Service and posted online. 

Julia Garcia says she was in a Wal-Mart store in San Antonio in December 2010 doing some late-night holiday shopping. It was about 2 a.m. when she pulled up to the cashier and tried to pay for her holiday purchases in cash, with a $100 bill.

The cashier inspected the bill and declared it a "fake." "The cashier proceeded to rip the $100 bill in half without performing any counterfeit detection tests," according to the complaint.

Garcia insisted it was real and -- for an unknown reason that would seem to defy common sense -- pulled out a second $100 bill. That one was shredded too -- this time by a manager, who said that bill was also counterfeit, the complaint says.

It would take two hours for the police to arrive, resolve the issue and help Garcia get her money back. During the ordeal, Garcia says, she was held for more than two hours at the front of the store, in sight of all its customers. She says customers who asked what was going on were told Garcia was trying to use fake currency.

When they arrived, the police officers reportedly confirmed to store employees that the money was real.

You'd think that would cause employees to change their tune. Garcia says it only got worse. The manager spoke to her in a sarcastic tone and then tried to hand her back her torn up money, the complaint says.

At that point, one of the police officers stepped in and said the money needed to be replaced with whole, intact bills, according to the complaint.

Garcia seeks punitive damages for false imprisonment and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

A representative for Wal-Mart did not return a request for comment by the time this story was posted.

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