Wal-Mart employee secretly swapped $7,600 with movie money, investigators say
By Patricio G. Balona
Volusia sheriff's investigators said Tuesday that a Deltona woman swapped real money with fake money from the safe of the Wal-Mart store where she worked.
Xiomara Matias-Cruz, 32, was arrested Monday and charged with obtaining property by fraud and grand theft. She is free on $10,000 bail, court records show.
According to sheriff's spokesman Andrew Gant, Matias-Cruz was arrested after other employees noticed something funny about a $10,000 bundle of cash in the store's safe.
The center of the bundle had bills — 76 counterfeit $100 bills — that had a blue hue, different thickness, texture and had the words "FOR MOTION PICTURE USE ONLY," Gant said.
A Wal-Mart cash office associate first noticed the fake money on Sunday and alerted a manager. After inspecting the bills and counting 76 counterfeit ones, the manager wrapped the bundle in a white paper marked "DO NOT USE" and locked it back in the safe.
On Monday, when a loss prevention officer went back to the safe to inspect the counterfeit money, the bundle was still there — but the fake bills were missing.
A review of the store's surveillance video showed that just after 6 a.m. Monday, Matias-Cruz went into the cash office to count and verify the money in the safe, which she did at the start of every shift. She seemed to be looking for something specific. Then she found the white "DO NOT USE" package, opened it, made a phone call and appeared to take something from the bundle.
Matias-Cruz then left the building and drove away, only 15 minutes after her shift started, Gant said.
On further review of surveillance footage, the loss prevention officer discovered a video from early Friday morning showing Matias-Cruz opening the same safe, fumbling with something and reaching in her pockets. She was also holding unbundled cash in her hand, Gant said.
Matias-Cruz was arrested at her Conway Drive home in Deltona. She refused to talk to deputies without a lawyer present, a report states.