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Crime The Almighty Buck United States Government Transportation News Entertainment Idle

Feds: Brink's Employee Makes Off With $196,000 In Quarters (cnn.com) 142

dfsmith writes: CNN is reporting today on the prosecution of a man who stole $196,000 worth of quarters from his employer in Alabama. Apparently the Brinks facility kept large bags of the coins for the Federal Reserve (about 1 ton each), which the accused emptied and refilled with beads (leaving some coins visible in the bag's window). Dennis faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. That's a million-quarter fine, or 216,000 more quarters than Dennis stole.
Notwithstanding the enterprise of purchasing and transporting that many beads, you've got to wonder: how would you go about this heist, and what would you do with the proceeds?
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Feds: Brink's Employee Makes Off With $196,000 In Quarters

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  • Parking (Score:4, Funny)

    by Early Six Digit UID ( 4308365 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2016 @08:41PM (#51662895)
    I could park... FOREVER
  • Brilliant! (Score:5, Funny)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2016 @08:41PM (#51662897) Journal
    As recent college students know, laundromats almost always accept quarters as a mechanism for buying machine time, so laundering the proceeds must have been particularly easy and convenient. This guy is obviously a cerebral master of crime.
  • Makes off, my arse (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rmdingler ( 1955220 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2016 @08:43PM (#51662909) Journal

    The bags were stored on skids in the doubtless aptly named Coin Room. An April 2014 audit of the coin inventory showed that four of the bags had been filled mostly with beads. Those bags each contained only $1,000 in quarters, which had been strategically situated so the coins were visible through a plastic window in the necks of the bags, according to federal authorities.

    Diabolically clever scheme unravels under the slightest scrutiny.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      If this was a large company (like, say, Verizon) stealing from its customers, the fine would have been a fraction of the money stolen, and no jail time for anyone (except maybe the customer who discovered the theft, under anti-hacking laws).

    • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2016 @10:06PM (#51663381) Homepage

      Well yes obviously someone would figure out sooner or later, but he was probably counting on them not finding out who and when. Or he was in some kind of money problem (gambling, drugs, whatever) and just did the kind of incredibly stupid crime you sometimes see which keeps their world from collapsing today. The same kind of "can't think about that" like the people who throw bills in the trash or keep sending money to Nigeria.

      A lot of people are simply dysfunctional that way, like they have a fear of the dentist. And they know the longer it's been since they was at the dentist, the more likely he'll find something really bad. So the problem just escalates until it becomes a huge crisis. You see that a lot with "dumb" embezzlement, now you not only got a gambling problem but for a few months delay you're now also an unemployed, convicted felon.

      Rationally it doesn't make sense, how much worse it's going to be compared to the relatively short and small gain you got. But I guess it's something of a survival trait, if life's fucked up you care about living one more day. And then another one, and then the one after that. Sometimes not having perspective is good for motivation, because there's nothing in your prospects to be cheerful about. You just carry on anyway.

      • Certainly.

        Indeed, you are never more truly alive than when your night's lodging and dinner depend on your success today.

        But don't forget, his short-sighted paradigm makes for some lean, low times to offset the high of the times you succeed.

      • by houghi ( 78078 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2016 @11:30AM (#51665835)

        Although gambling can be a reason, more likely it is just being very bad with money. The kind of bad where people buy a new iPhone and a new TV and new handbags and the newest sneakers and then say they do not have enough money for food.

        Many people never learn how to count money. People do not even understand what a credit is. These are people who think that a credit of 2000 is their money they must use.

        In school (in Belgium) I learned how to trasfer money. I learned how a bank account is made up and how the control number worked. I never learned what a credit or a loan was. I never learned how to do a busget.

        I am lucky that I learned that at home. Not all parents know it themselves and thus are unable to explain it to their kids.
        Basic budgetting skils should be learned in schools.
        This would still mean some people would not understand it, but way less than what is happening now.

        You will be amazed at how many people do not even know the difference between a loan and a credit, yet they are maxing out their credit cards like nobodies business. One trip and you are fucked.

        Issue is, where would you go to when you have financial problem? Most go to a bank. And then get fucked over AGAIN, because the bank does not work for them, they work for the bank.

  • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2016 @08:45PM (#51662933)
    Well, what I would have done would have been to go to Las Vegas and spend it in the slot machines, but the first time I went to Vegas as an adult I found to my disappointment that the slot machines no longer had slots anymore, and they made the same coin-falling-into-cup sound whether or not the player won.

    Not that anyone cares, but that basically was the straw that broke the camel's back for going to Las Vegas without any real reason.
    • to the bad the Sigma Derby at MGM is down right now. I think there is last game with coin in.

    • "Well, what I would have done would have been to go to Las Vegas and spend it in the slot machines"

      I...er, bet that laundering through casinos was what this economic genius had in mind, if he hadn't been in one for a while.

      Before casinos went all-voucher and bills, there was a transitional period when slot machines still took coins. Load up a machine with quarters, print out a voucher to take to the cashier window and hope to rinse & repeat a usable number of times before management started wondering wh

    • by swb ( 14022 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2016 @07:42AM (#51664819)

      Casinos all seem to use electronic tokens now with barcoded chits that print out when you cash out.

      There's a History or Discovery channel documentary about a guy who made slugs for casinos during the brief era between coins and electronic tokens. The guy was a retired toolmaker with a little extra money and he bought some equipment capable of making a detailed copy of casino tokens, created a die for stamping them and churned out several.

      The first batch didn't work because the machines rejected its magnetic signature. He demilled the design off an actual token and had a metallurgical analysis done and found a commercial alloy used for flatware that was a close match. Those tokens worked.

      He would go into a casino, buy a small amount of tokens and then play with a mix of his counterfeits and real tokens. I don't recall if he mostly made money from winnings payouts or by cashing in his fake tokens. He ultimately got caught, I think by visiting the same casino too often, but his copies were nearly indistinguishable from the originals -- I think they actually had to do a metallurgical analysis to determine which were fakes.

    • by 228e2 ( 934443 )
      How do you propose shipping several tons as your luggage? Or even transporting that to a casino undetected?
    • *throws 500 pound sack of quarters on roulette table*

      "Black"

      Then the nice security guards can ask me where I got the Brinks bags.
  • "Notwithstanding the enterprise of purchasing and transporting that many beads, you've got to wonder: how would you go about this heist, and what would you do with the proceeds?"

    For starters, the quarters would be handy for calling your lawyer.

  • Well... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tnk1 ( 899206 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2016 @08:53PM (#51662985)

    Strictly speaking, he'd have no trouble laundering the money. They don't have serial numbers and its not like they'd have a dye pack in there.

    The problem is that he'd be limited to buying fast food with his earnings for the next 50 years because I don't know how much effort you'd need to actually turn that much money into a more portable form. I don't think there are enough Coin Star machines between there and the West Coast to do it.

    You can tell that this guy had like 1/10th of a really good idea knocking around in his otherwise empty skull and failed to realize that it wasn't nearly enough to make this even remotely feasible. Of course, that's why there are few true criminal masterminds out there. It's easier for someone that smart to actually make money with a real job.

    • Re:Well... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2016 @09:26PM (#51663167)

      The problem is that he'd be limited to buying fast food with his earnings for the next 50 years because I don't know how much effort you'd need to actually turn that much money into a more portable form.

      The classical way would be work through a coinop car wash or laundromat partner and then launder it through them by inflating the sales over a few years.

      • by rwyoder ( 759998 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2016 @11:09PM (#51663709)

        The classical way would be work through a coinop car wash or laundromat partner and then launder it through them by inflating the sales over a few years.

        I knew a married couple who were doing that. Walt & Skyler were really nice people!

        • by vux984 ( 928602 )

          Lol, I never even made that connection. But that was full service as they were laundering bills; I was thinking more the complete DIY places with the coin-op wash wands & coin-op vaccuums.

    • If his plan was to "get one more bag" and retire to Belize, he might have pulled it off... use change counting machines to get enough bills to buy a truck big enough to haul the loot, get through customs with 4 tons of quarters, home free.

      • How long do you think a gringo will have four tons of quarters in Belize? I bet he wouldn't make it through Mexico.

      • I am not sure how you would do that. My full sized truck has a hauling capacity of 1700 lbs, and a towing capacity of 9800 lbs (I have 4WD, or it would be a little over 10k) I can't see what kind of trailer you could get that would be able to carry all of that, and to go with a larger size truck that can tow/haul more, you are looking at F-250 and up, which costs around $50k, so wouldn't be worth it, and even then, you still need a trailer that could carry that much weight.

    • Re: Well... (Score:4, Funny)

      by Type44Q ( 1233630 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2016 @09:53PM (#51663297)

      . Of course, that's why there are few true criminal masterminds out there.

      And how, pray tell, were you able to determine that? ;)

      • by TimSSG ( 1068536 )
        If you edit the quote to this I think it is true. "Of course, that's why there are few true criminal masterminds out there [who get caught]." Tim S.

        . Of course, that's why there are few true criminal masterminds out there.

        And how, pray tell, were you able to determine that? ;)

    • Strictly speaking, he'd have no trouble laundering the money.

      Indeed! He will never be short of a quarter and have to leave the laundrette with the money unwashed.

    • It's easier for someone that smart to actually make money hiding behind a corporation.

      FTFY

      • by creimer ( 824291 )

        It's easier for someone that smart to actually make money hiding behind a corporation.

        The tax laws overwhelmingly favors the corporation over the individual. I would think it would be difficult to run stolen quarters through a corporation unless it had a coin-op business in place. The IRS loves to trace money. The appearance of $200,000 in quarters inside a corporation will need a logical explanation.

    • well I took my time, did some quick research for southern Florida ...
      we change to $$$ machines in the major supermarkets
      using $75 + 1 to 24 random we come out with 2300 ( 3% variance) stops average

      buy some food for the house ( 10.00 ) per stop
      now the change machine will credit you the service fee
      and we have about 3 stops per day on a 5 day work week
      3 to 4 years of work ( 210 work year )
      clearing 200 a day
      and eating healthier.

      I don't think I can find more than 15 supermarkets to hit in 1 week to do everything

  • by Anonymous Coward

    If you took out two pocketfulls of quarters each shift, then converted them to cash in a Coinstar machine on the way home, this makes the whole problem much more manageable. That's easily an extra $50-75.00 each shift.

    • I imagine that the tricky bit is that, legally, the penalties increase drastically when you shift from 'stealing nothing' to 'stealing something', so there's an incentive to either not touch so much as a few quarters for the parking meter; or make off with enough loot to be worth the risk and effort required to circumvent whatever security measures are in place.

      The only exception would be if security and audits were pitifully lax; and you knew that discrepancies of under 1% by weight are classified as 'e
  • Bring them -- in roughly $100 batches -- to various CoinStar machines in your and the surrounding counties. Sure, you'll lose 11%, but that's 11% of free money.

    • by jafiwam ( 310805 )

      Bring them -- in roughly $100 batches -- to various CoinStar machines in your and the surrounding counties. Sure, you'll lose 11%, but that's 11% of free money.

      Coinstar use would easily get him caught.

      First, there are cameras IN them and pointed at them. Also, to get cash you get a voucher and go to the service desk where there is a camera (and probably showing of an ID.) So now you have lots of points of contact and an easy cross-reference.

      The gift cards you could probably use (they print out a receipt with a code) but you can't sell those because to be verified, you give out the number and that's as good as the card. Plus, you have to ship stuff to your house

      • by Nutria ( 679911 )

        First, there are cameras IN them and pointed at them.

        That's why you'd spread it around.

        I wonder how long CS keeps those records, and if they run scans for suspicious repeat conversions. Would the FBI be smart enough to ask CoinStar? (They sure weren't very bright with terrorist iPhone...)

      • Coinstar use would easily get him caught.

        If he tried to batch it over a narrow period of time. $100 once a month, varied between locations, should be enough to avoid connecting him to the crime.

        Still, that would take 163 years to launder the whole haul, so that wouldn't be sufficient. You could supplement that with using coins for 'everything' you can. Whenever you buy stuff, give them a couple bucks of quarters along with the other money. Go wild at a quarter slot machine(might be hard to find). Etc...

      • by swb ( 14022 )

        I would think a front would only be necessary for a long-term ongoing scam where you had a limitless supply of coins. $196,000 sounds like a lot of money, but the big jar on my dresser when filled usually yields close to $500 when I cash them in.

        The safe thing to do would not be looking for a way to cash them all in quickly, but to cash in $2000 a month at varied locations in approximately $500 lots. $2000 a month in tax-free cash would make a nice boost in income and could be used for dining out and othe

        • by creimer ( 824291 )

          [...] the big jar on my dresser when filled usually yields close to $500 when I cash them in.

          That's a mixture of old and new coins. If the stolen quarters were all brand new, it would tip off someone that something suspicious was going on. Especially if the quarters popped up in regular batches in a particular geographic area.

          • by swb ( 14022 )

            I kind of doubt anyone's going to know. I've waited in line to use the coin machine at the bank and seen the two people in front of me dump almost as many coins as I did into the machine. Nobody emptied the machine after each customer to check the coins.

            By the time the bank actually empties the machine the individual denomination hoppers are filled with so many coins that the ones *I* deposited are already mixed in.

            I think a lot of this "getting away with it" business depends on getting away with the orig

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Survivalists hoard quarters to get the silver.

  • by bosef1 ( 208943 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2016 @09:17PM (#51663123)

    Should this ruffian be apprehended, I believe the correct punishment, as warning and deterrent to others, is that he be drawn... and quartered.

  • by sacrilicious ( 316896 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2016 @09:40PM (#51663235) Homepage

    That's a million-quarter fine, or 216,000 more quarters than Dennis stole.

    Nerdgasm: 216,000 is 60 cubed !!!

  • The reward of a thing well done is to have done it. -- Emerson

  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2016 @09:59PM (#51663331)

    ... and your parking expenses will be covered for a couple of years.

  • "The Best Way To Rob A Bank Is To Own One." by William K. Black [youtube.com]

    "You come to us today telling us "We're sorry. We won't do it again. Trust us". Well i have some people in my constituency that actually robbed some of your banks, and they say the same thing." -- Representative Mike Capuano quoted in The Inside Job. [imdb.com]

  • Nah, it's cheaper to just smelt them down into zinc ingots. It's legal (only illegal to melt down pennies and nickels, if I recall) and having a lot of zinc ingots has an easier explanation. (Ex: So, I was going to buy gold bars for when the Apocalypse happens, but I figure that nobody needs gold, per se, but quite a few people need zinc. At least, that's what the guy I bought them off of said. I met him in a bar.)
  • He was probably just looking forward to *finally* having a chance at beating Sinistar and Gauntlet

  • nice greengrocers apostrophe
    http://www.oxforddictionaries.... [oxforddictionaries.com]

    sorry to go all grammar fascist but the name of the company is Brinks right?

    http://www.brinks.com/ [brinks.com]

  • That's what I'd do with all those quarters.

    Not just gum though, mostly candy.

  • So wait (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wardrich86 ( 4092007 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2016 @09:33AM (#51665175)
    When an average guy steals money, he gets fined more than what he stole AND jail time... but when a corporation steals money, they get fined a fraction of what they stole and a slap on the wrist? America - what an amazing country.
    • If only he'd had the foresight to incorporate as an LLC first, then he might be immune from prosecution, and could just bankrupt his company to avoid the fine.
    • He should have stole lots of bills instead of lots of coins. The rules are different when you are really rich.

  • Lots and lots and laundry... and no more need to put all my clothes into one big machine and have them end up all wrinkly. I could finally actually afford to separate my whites from my darks from my towels and sheets. Oh wait, I don't actually wash my sheets. But I digress...
  • His punishment should include counting and rolling all those quarters - that's 19,600 rolls of quarters.

  • by UncleGizmo ( 462001 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2016 @12:27PM (#51666225)

    I think the challenge of this heist, aside from the massive weights involved, would be the replacing of the quarters with beads - so you're not just taking quarters out of bags (putting them into other containers), but you're also bringing IN equivalent size/weight material to replace what you've stolen. That's a brute force hack!

  • It exchanges your money for quarters so that you can do your laundry and is open past 4 PM so that you can actually get to it.

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