Oakland man arrested after using counterfeit money from Target

7 On Your Side's Michael Finney helped a local man who was arrested after using counterfeit money from a Target store.
March 5, 2014 8:39:05 PM PST
An ordinary shopping trip ended in disaster for one viewer. He lost hundreds of dollars, had his bank account stolen and was arrested all in one day. And it's all because somebody is out there printing fake money.

Oakland resident Justin Real was just trying to do a nice thing for his aunt Mary.

"Her vision is going a little bad so I wanted to get her a bigger TV," Real said.

Little did he know a shopping trip would spiral into catastrophe.

"I never shop on Black Friday and feel as if this is the penalty," Real said.

It all began when Real bought a TV at a Target store on Black Friday. That was the day of the big data breach. But that wasn't even the problem, at least not yet.

"Plugged the TV in, it didn't work," Real said.

Real took it back right away. He wanted the refund back on his debit card. The clerk said she could only give him cash.

"They said it was a Black Friday policy that they were not putting money back on cards," Real said.

So he took the wad of cash.

"She gave me four $100 bills and then she also gave me three $20 bills," Real said.

He then went to Best Buy in Oakland to pick out a different TV and paid for it with the $100 bills, or tried to.

"Immediately the clerk said this is fake money," he said.

Real didn't believe it was counterfeit, so he asked to see the manager .

"He looked at the bills in the air kind of for a second and them called security over," Real said.

Store security took Real into custody.

"I was handcuffed in front of the store, humiliated in front of, as you can imagine it's Black Friday, there's a lot of people walking in and out," Real said.

Real sat in a holding room with his hands cuffed behind him.

"I told them they had the wrong guy. I was the victim and yet I felt like the suspect," Real said.

He let the security guards go into his car and get his Target receipts. The receipts show that Target refunded him $464 in cash.

When Oakland police arrived they let Real go free, but kept that phony money.

The police report says it appears Real was a victim of counterfeiting. The next day he demanded Target give him his real money back.

"Target told me they had no idea what I was talking about," Real said. "I got a call from my bank," he said.

The call was about the data breach. Rea'ls bank account was one of the $40 million stolen from Target customers over the holidays.

Nobody at Target would listen about the fake money, but 7 On Your Side did.

"7 On Your Side is always there, it's an ally," Real said.

We contacted Target, which investigated his claim and Real got a call.

"I was given my money back finally," Real said.

Target gave him $460 in cash, plus a $100 gift card.

Target did not comment about the case except to say "Target was able to resolve this issue with the guest directly and he has been provided with a full refund."

Best Buy said "We dispute the facts of Mr. Real's story. Everyone acted appropriately in getting law enforcement involved. Real was handcuffed for only 25 minutes, at most."

Now Real and Mary are going shopping for that TV.

"He's a great nephew, I love him to death," Mary said.

Counterfeit money is out there in circulation. You might get a fake bill without even knowing it and if you're the one caught spending it you lose your money.

So this coming Friday night, Michael Finney will show you how to spot a fake bill before you accept it on ABC7 News at 6 p.m.


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