Man Stuffed ATMs with Fake Cash, FBI Says

By Deanne Katz, Esq. on October 17, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Did you know ATMs can sense how much money is in them at any given time? That's why, to fool the machine, an ATM service man used fake cash to replace the real money he allegedly stole.

Gene Carlo Pena was caught after he arrived at JFK airport in New York, travelling from the Dominican Republic. He voluntarily returned to the U.S. to face charges of embezzlement and counterfeiting, reports NBC News.

Unfortunately for Pena, his attempt at counterfeit weren't very sophisticated. It was less than 10 days between when the fake notes were found and he was arrested.

The counterfeit bills weren't very well designed and were only printed on one side. That was likely an attempt to trick the Chase ATMs, where the money was deposited, into sensing they was full of money and not necessarily to pass the bills off as real.

But the attempt wasn't even good enough to trick the machine, reports NBC News. The two ATMs that received counterfeit cash were able to distinguish most of the fake bills.

Pena is in trouble for distributing counterfeit money and for stealing the real cash. Authorities believe he stole the $11,000 found missing from the bank.

Stealing is obviously a crime but because Pena worked as an ATM servicer, his crime isn't ordinary theft. He's charged with embezzlement which can only be charged against someone with access to certain funds who takes that money for his own benefit.

Most often it happens in a business setting but it doesn't have to be done by an employee; it could also be the trustee of a fund or someone in a position of trust relative to a fund of money.

The fake notes were found quickly but not before several Chase bank customers tried to take out cash and found themselves with half-finished dollar bills. Bank representatives have promised to refund the money to affected clients.

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