Eduardo Martinez tries to exchange counterfeit bills at casino to get money for girlfriend's rent, police say

Posted: 4:40 PM EDT Apr 22, 2013
Sands Bethlehem

A Berks County man was caught trying to exchange counterfeit bills for real money at a casino so he could help his girlfriend pay her rent, officials said.

Both Eduardo S. Martinez and Yadira Torres were arrested in connection with the scam around 11 p.m. Friday at the Sands Casino Resort, 77 Sands Blvd., Bethlehem, officials said.

Martinez was detained in the casino parking lot after a blackjack dealer alerted casino security that Martinez used four phony $50 bills to buy chips, officials said.

Martinez told police he paid $150 for $300 in funny money to a Hispanic male he knew only as "Vittin," who dropped him off at the casino to meet his girlfriend, officials said.

After placing a bet with chips bought with $200 in fake money, and seeing the dealer push away the chips, Martinez got nervous, took the chips, left the gaming table and went outside to smoke a cigarette, officials said.  

Martinez was caught on surveillance video wedging five other counterfeit $50 bills between a slot machine and a trash can, officials said.

Torres told police Martinez informed her he had gotten the counterfeit money from a man maned "Beitin," and, as he had done on two other occasions, was going to exchange counterfeit money for the real thing so Torres could pay her rent, officials said.

Torres left Martinez at the blackjack table to ply a slot machine, because she was "uncomfortable with the situation," officials said.

Martinez, 35, of 165 Main St., Wernersville, and Torres, 35, of 418 Cumberland St., Allentown, were both arraigned Saturday on charges of forgery, conspiracy and theft by deception, according to court documents.

Martinez was committed to the Northampton County Prison on $50,000 bail, and Torres on $25,000 bail, court papers say.

A preliminary hearing is set for both at 9 a.m. April 30.