Wal-Mart Tosses Student In Jail For Trying To Cash Real Money Orders, Then Sends Her A Bill

Nitra Gipson sold her car to pay for her last two semesters at Texas Southern University, where she is studying criminal justice (of all things), and was paid with Wal-Mart Money Orders. When she tried to cash these money orders at her local Wal-Mart she was arrested and charged with felony forgery — even though the money orders were real.

“Humiliating is not the word for it,” Gipson told KHOU news. “I was horrified. I think they singled me out because of the amount of money that it was and (thought) I was trying to get over on them.”

Nothing she did convinced the Wal-Mart manager to drop the charges. Finally, after 48 hours behind bars, the District Attorney’s office released her after she provided the purchase receipts. You might think that was the end of Ms. Gipson’s ordeal. Nope.

From KHOU:

Gipson said Wal-Mart then added insult to injury when she got a letter in the mail.

“I started to read it and thought, ‘Oh my God.’ They are asking me to pay them when it was clearly their mistake,” said Gipson.

The letter demanded Gipson pay Wal-Mart $200 to settle a shoplifting charge. It is a charge that never existed, though.

KHOU says that they contacted Wal-Mart and were told that the decision to press charges was up to the law enforcement officer at the scene. KHOU also notes that the copy of criminal complaint they obtained shows that the store manager is the one who pressed charges.

TSU student jailed on bogus Wal-Mart forgery charge [KHOU](Thanks, nick!)

Comments

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  1. Saboth says:

    Lawsuit?

  2. NightSteel says:

    Ouch. I hope she’ll go to a different walmart to cash them, then never go back again.

  3. Stay classy you large-scale discount retailer!

  4. Jbball says:

    Once again, Wal-Mart fails, epically. Wal-Mart is a company of fucking idiots that all deserve to die. I shop at Target because I simply CANNOT STAND Wal-Mart any longer.

  5. losiek says:

    Exactly – sue the hell out of them.

  6. the real question is… why the hell would you accept payment for a car in WALMART money orders?

  7. laserjobs says:

    Sweet sue Wal-Mart for millions. Start going to a psychologist right away for the emotial distress. You need to play this up that Wal-Mart ruined your life.

  8. badhatharry says:

    Yeah, I’m thinking Wal-Mart’s going to pay for your last two semesters at TSU.

  9. maevro says:

    Gotta love that they catch the manager in a lie. I guess the moral of the story is that people at Wal-Mart think all of their customers who have large sums of money are all criminals.

  10. ftrain says:

    WTF?

    Man, I’m so glad all of attempts to have a WalMart open within NYC has been blocked.

    BTW, the best part of the article is:

    “Wal-Mart should be held responsible and accountable for letting this child go to jail for two days. All because she was doing what any customer of Wal-Mart should do,” said community activist Quannel X

    Quannel X???? Awesome

  11. Bluesman125 says:

    I dream of being wronged to this extent by the owners of the deepest pockets in the world.

    You’re a winnah in the Lawsuit Lottery. Go collect your prize, babe.

  12. nutrigm says:

    WHOA! That particular Wal-Mart, especially the store manager definitely deserves to burn in hell for this one!

  13. crabbyman6 says:

    @laserjobs: agreed, they’ll probably just settle and then you can pay for the last two semester AND get a car.

  14. Lambasted says:

    Cash money orders at Walmart?! Ever heard of a bank? Now that is off my chest…

    SUE the hell out of Walmart for false imprisonment and emotional distress because they for had no right to detain you when you broke no law. SUE the city for false arrest!

    I don’t think you’ll have to worry about coming up with tuition money after you finish with them.

  15. burningstar4 says:

    Being a manager is cool. Being a manager at a Wal-Mart… not so much. Sounds like an ego boosting power trip or something of the sort. Come on manager, the MOs were real, you screwed up, drop it.

  16. Riddler says:

    @laserjobs: I believe that in many states, emotional distress claims are only available as an add-on to one’s own personal physical injury, or the physical injury of a family member. Hopefuly for her, that isn’t the case in Texas.

  17. Skankingmike says:

    I’m still laughing that there is such a thing as a Wal-mart money order….. HAHAHA

    there is definitely something wrong in the world today and Wal-mart it may be.

  18. billbell48 says:

    Not to state the obvious, but I think that this manager’s career is pretty much over. What a load of crap…I hope Wal-Mart ends up paying for the rest of her college.

  19. mavrick67 says:

    sounds like Ms. Gipson isn’t going to be having any more tuition issues, cause she’ll be getting the equivalent of a full scholarship courtesy of Wal-Mart (after her lawyer gets done with them that is).

  20. AaronZ says:

    Wow, I would think a counter suit would be in order. I mean, she was using their product exactly as intended, and they *had her arrested* for it. That’s just f-d up!

  21. Ariah says:

    In a way, isn’t this good luck for Ms. Gipson? She’ll probably end up with a nice settlement check.

  22. rbb says:

    Normally, I would say wait and say the Consumerist should wait and try to post the other side of the story. But this time, I don’t see how Walmart can explain their way out of this one. Lawyer up and go after them.

  23. GMFish says:

    From the article: “Charges were dropped after the money orders were verified when Gipson provided the purchase receipts.”

    Why did she have to prove her innocence when there was no proof of any wrongdoing? This makes no sense to me at all.

  24. xanax25mg says:

    the story leaves out a lot that I find confusing. One, what made walmart think the checks were forged? Two, the police are also somewhat culpable in this. Just because someone wants to press charges doesn’t mean the police automatically take you off to jail for 2 days (no one bailed her out?). I mean I can press charges against anyone all day long but if there’s no probable cause the police just can’t throw you in the clink. So either the cops in this case are mindless lemmings or there was some small iota of suspicion that led to her being arrested. This is NOT a blame the victim post, but we don’t know if this girl had previous run-ins with the police before.

  25. SonicMan says:

    Ya, I think money for college will not be a problem for her anymore.

  26. midwestkel says:

    I wish stuff like this happened to me, I want to get paid!

  27. Bladefist says:

    @Lambasted: I agree with you, but if she is selling her car to pay for school, she doesn’t have the money to sue anyone. Let alone wal-mart. She is unfortunately going to remain a victim in this.

  28. thrlsekr says:

    This is where instead of a retailer respecting the choice of the consumer to shop at their store the store figures they are doing the consumer a favor of letting them shop at their store and took it to the extreme and should be ashamed and the manager should be terminated.

    False arrest, illegal detainment, wow, this list could go on and on but in this world, the corporation will prevail!

  29. LorneReams says:

    I don’t like the idea that you can get arrested and held in jail just because a person who is in charge at the store makes an allegation that they can’t prove. If he turned around and said “well this person sold me the money order, so if it’s fake, it’s this persons fault” would the manager have gone to jail? I don’t think so. When they detain you illegally for refusing to see a receipt, do they get arrested and held in jail? Again, I don’t think so. Why does a corporation automatically seem to get a free pass with law enforcement to the obvious detriment of everyone else?

  30. midwestkel says:

    @Bladefist: Im pretty sure a lawyer will take up the case for free.

  31. YouandWhoseArmy says:

    I hate frivolous lawsuits as much as the next guy but using a companies product as intended and then getting arrested…take those fuckers to court.

  32. Bladefist says:

    @midwestkel: They could. But since it’s wal-mart, and they have a whole team of lawyers, you would need one ballsy lawyer. I hope she finds one.

  33. BlondeGrlz says:

    @badhatharry: Heck, I’d start applying to Harvard Law. Tuition should not be a problem.

  34. bouldr1 says:

    Lets not forget the fact that she was studying criminal justice. A felony arrest may make her ineligible for many of the jobs she might have been looking at.

  35. backbroken says:

    Wow. One more reason to stay out of Wal-Mart AND Texas!

  36. semanticantics says:

    @bouldr1:

    Exactly what I was thinking. Defamation is the real money-maker here.

  37. MyPetFly says:

    @ftrain:

    >>Quannel X???? Awesome

    I believe it’s a new cell phone/midi/gps/defibrillator/mp3/mpeg all-in-one chip, right?

  38. Coder4Life says:

    this manager should be fired, better yet he should have to stand outside the wal mart store with a sign around his neck w/ what he did.

    hopefully no one ever hires him with any management power ever.. idiot..

  39. savvy9999 says:

    How did she provide the receipts if she was in jail? Around the 27th hour in the cooler, she remembered they were in her back pocket?

    This story doesn’t make a lot of sense.

  40. LINIS says:

    @Bladefist: No one needs any money to sue anyone. Lawyers almost always (as in, I’ve never heard of it being done differently) will take civil cases with payment being a percentage of the plaintiff’s winnings (usually 1/3 I think). Not to mention that this sounds like a pretty easy case to win if we indeed have all the correct details.

  41. Angryrider says:

    Want money orders? Go to the post office. It’s easier to forge a Wal-Mart money order, and that’s why scammers love them. Or at least use Western Union.

  42. Darascon says:

    @ftrain: @MyPetFly: Quannel X is actually a very very popular person down those parts. If anyone of some sort of non-white race gets into any kind of legal issue, he’s there. More often than not, when the police can’t find people they’re looking for, it’s most likely because they’re with Q.X. working on their story before he gets them to turn themselves in.

    I hear about his “magic” all the time.

  43. ThomFabian says:

    @savvy9999:
    Well, she probably called a family member or friend and had them retrieve the receipts. Or she was finally able to convince the police to retrieve them from her home or car.

  44. RChris173 says:

    Let them know your concerns:

    Wal-Mart Store #2718
    9555 So. Post Oak Road
    Houston, TX 77096
    (713) 551-9148

    And btw, just because you are arrested doesn’t mean you will be automatically denied jobs. Only if a felony conviction occurs or any conviction for that matter.

  45. stacye says:

    @savvy9999: FTA

    No manner of effort by Gipson to show that the money orders were legit worked. The store manager insisted she be charged.

    The district attorney’s office saw it differently. Charges were dropped after the money orders were verified when Gipson provided the purchase receipts.

    It sounds to me as though she showed the receipts to the manager, and the manager refused to accept it.

  46. picardia says:

    Wal-Mart should’ve been able to verify those money orders almost instantly. The fact that they didn’t means (a) they’re lazy to the point of negligence or (b) Wal-Mart’s handling of their money order business is a total joke. Possibly both.

    As there are somehow, despite all human understanding, some blame-the-victim posts in here:

    1) Accepting payment for a used car in money orders beats a rubber check any day. Wal-Mart money orders are apparently entirely valid, despite the fact that one Wal-Mart doesn’t know it, so why should she not have done this?

    2) Many Wal-Marts have banks, so it’s not an odd place to cash a money order of any sort — and you’d think it would be a great place to cash Wal-Mart’s own money orders. Guess not.

  47. pixiegirl1 says:

    Wow here come the lawyers. . . . Walmart screwed her twice, not only did they falsely accuse her of forgery (which is a felony) they also screwed her because she’s a criminal justice major (it’s going to be impossible to get a job in any level of law enforcement with a felony record).

    Side note Walmart you may not want to screw people who are in criminal justice/law enforcement over chances are they know a few good lawyers or can have them recommended by others in the field. Especially when pressing charges on someone who has not committed any crimes. I understand she obviously didn’t have a lot of money which is why she sold the car to pay for school, but if I were her I’d contact my Criminal Law teachers(who usually are lawyers or work for the states attorneys office) for advice trust me they will help her find someone to represent her in court.

  48. @ftrain: @ftrain: @MyPetFly: @Darascon:
    In Louisville, KY there is Christopher 2X. Twice the “magic” as Quannel X!!!!!

  49. easy2panic says:

    Lawsuit = Free Graduate School, and a new car if you are lucky.

  50. ThunderRoad says:

    Libel … :)

  51. Wormfather says:

    This situation calls for a a law suit, me spending two nights in jail. Oh hell no, thos bastards need to pay. IMO, $2M should be punitive enough.

  52. darkryd says:

    Wow. What a bunch of dicks.

  53. jadenton says:

    She clearly proved that the money orders where genuine. Walmart itself should have known this. In fact, it is somewhat inconceivable that the manager did not have the capacity to make this determination. Filing a false arrest report is itself a crime, and actionable in a criminal court. She needs to press charges against the store manager personally, and then file a civil suit against Walmart. Walmart will settle and hang the offending manager out to dry.

  54. backbroken says:

    @RChris173: But now she’ll have to sit on the Group W bench.

  55. Solidgun says:

    I can’t wait to hear the resolution to this story. I hope they pay through the nose for her compensation. It would be great if this story can go on the national news.

  56. BrewG0D says:

    Hmmm, I think someone is about to get their next car & their Doctorate paid for.

  57. snoop-blog says:

    I would totally sue the shit out of them. Period.

  58. Wormfather says:

    @picardia: “As there are somehow, despite all human understanding, some blame-the-victim posts in here”

    Aha, if you had human understanding, you’d understand why a blameless victim gets blame the victim posts.

    I see what I did there.

  59. chiieddy says:

    @backbroken: That’s for littering.

  60. Lucky225 says:

    is this TO FAR yet slaves?

  61. haoshufu says:

    I sense big lawsuit coming to Walmart.

  62. luz says:

    Anyone notice this case has to do with a young black woman with a lot of money in the South?

  63. BlackFlag55 says:

    If this story stands as written, and Discovery bears out the facts as presented, I’ve got the names and phone numbers of three superb litigating attorneys in Texas who would LOVE to get a real big bite out of Wal Mart’s ass. I mean a PAINFUL bite.

  64. sir_pantsalot says:

    @Darascon: After seeing that Mr. X was involved I didn’t know what to think. At first it seemed like Walmart was completely to blame but then Quannel is involved and you just assume the person is guilty (Mr. X someone who is about to get out of college in not a “kid”).

    Hopefully Walmart is wrong and will get sued for it and it will turn out that Qaunnel X was just sticking his nose in there doing his race pimping thing that he always does.

  65. am84 says:

    I hope she gets Wal-Mart to pay for her Master’s Degree. And her Doctorate.

  66. any such name says:

    @Bladefist: are you joking? some attorney will take this for free to get his name out there. clearly, you know nothing about lawyers.

  67. opsomath says:

    Add one to “Sue the fuckers for so much money their grandkids will be broke” on my behalf, please.

    Also, I do hope the Consumerist posts the resolution of this story.

  68. Brunette Bookworm says:

    @Skankingmike: If I need to get a money order I usually get one at Wal-mart. Only time I go in there. Are you thinking they can only be used at Wal-mart??? They are just like a regular money order but I believe it only costs $0.25 to get one.

  69. Shadowman615 says:

    @Bladefist: Yeah, she’d need to get a pretty high-class legal team to take this one, but it certainly could happen if the facts were clear enough and the case had enough publicity.

    She might even be able to sue the police department…

  70. foxbat2500 says:

    Thanks for the college money Wal-Mart. And hopefully she’ll get enough for a nice new car too. Me…I’m sticking with Target.

  71. @backbroken

    And she started yellin kill Kill KILLLL

  72. SacraBos says:

    @Bladefist: There are any number of ambulance chasers in Texas (Jim Adler, the Texas HAMMER) that would be falling all over themselves to take this pro-bono. She shouldn’t have a problem. Go get ‘em girl!

  73. catnapped says:

    “It’s her own damn fault!!!! And why is this even a story?!?!?”

    (well, you know SOMEBODY had to say it! LOL)

  74. dotcomrade says:

    Why would anyone accept money orders in payment of a used car?

    It makes no sense.

    The buyer has to supply cash to purchase the money order in the first place, so why not just insist that the buyer pay cash for the car?

    I hope she wins a large punitive damage award against WalMart for their inexcusable behavior. Clearly, at WalMart, the customer is never right!

  75. latemodel says:

    WalMart is like the biggest single source of income in Mexico. Hundreds of millions of dollars are sent from the US to Mexico every year.

    I want to here the details of the shoplifting charges. Was there an accusation of shoplifting in the past that went unresolved that prompted the arrest???

  76. drrictus says:

    Cue Jeff Foxworthy:

    “If you’ve ever paid for something in money orders from Wal-Mart, you might be a redneck.”

    “If you’ve ever sold something for money orders from Wal-Mart, you might be that redneck’s butler.”

  77. sir_pantsalot says:

    @SacraBos: She already has Quannel X so I’m sure the ACLU and NAACP will be there to help her also.

  78. hellinmyeyes says:

    WTF? Wow, this is “special”. I’d like to know more about the events that transpired, really. Going from cashing money orders to shoplifting to jail is a pretty rapid escalation.

  79. Lucky225 says:

    @dotcomrade:

    Because carrying around $1,000s in cash isn’t safe and they don’t have a checking account? It’s common to buy used cars from private parties by money order. The seller takes the risk though if they don’t verify prior to the sale

  80. shawn62279 says:

    I have paid 2 people with money orders for Walmart. They both tried to cash them in 2 separate Walmarts. I had to give both people the receipts so Walmart would actually take the money orders. I will NEVER buy Walmart money orders again. Obviously there is a problem company wide, not just in Texas, but I have never heard of anyone getting arested.

  81. SacraBos says:

    @luz: Didn’t realize she’s black until I read more of the comments. Ol’ X may be a race-baiter, but hey, even a stopped clock is right twice a day. An agent of Wal-Mart puts someone in jail for forgery for using Wal-Mart money orders that are 100% legit? And continues to attempt to press charges in the face of evidence of this? Doesn’t matter if your purple, that’s just wrong.

  82. Concerned_Citizen says:

    Shouldn’t the manager be charged with filing a false police report? If charges aren’t made against people who do crap like this, they will keep doing it.

  83. bagumpity says:

    Add me to the list of people who want to see the resolution posted. I hate it when a fellow Consumerist gets a good opportunity to “stick it to the man” and we never get to hear how much the man squealed when stuck. I just hope she doesn’t punk out like the receipt-check guy.

  84. boxjockey68 says:

    way to go walfart, add one more lawsuit to the ever growing pile. What a positively insane company, how is it they stay in business?

  85. Tekneek says:

    You people must be mistaken. Walmart is a great company who always does right by everyone. Isn’t that the propaganda spin they put on everything?

    That store manager, and the police department, need to be sued for civil rights violations. The store manager needs to be thrown out to the curb and Walmart needs to come clean on a national level about this disgraceful incident.

  86. Trai_Dep says:

    Waitasec – isn’t this all Trial Lawyers’ fault?!

  87. tripnman says:

    @TakingItSeriously:

    Can you imagine 50 people a day? That’s 50 people a day, walking in, sitting down and saying “No More WalMart.” They’d think it’s a movement. And folks, that’s what it is, the “WalMart Sucks” Massacre movement. Sing it with me the next time it comes around on the guitar.

    (Sorry Arlo!, just couldn’t let this thread die!)

  88. BoomerFive says:

    You (the OP) are going to get a lot more than the price of that car if you do this right.

  89. Shannon says:

    I hope she sues them.

  90. Me - now with more humidity says:

    @BrandonOBrien: They’re exactly the same as any other money order, like from the post office or a bank.

  91. Burgandy says:

    With any luck the jury for this case will be selected from the consumerist. They wouldn’t have a chance in hell.

  92. Mr. Gunn says:

    I’m not the first to say this, but this is definitely grounds for a lawsuit. Not for the $200, but for all the legal fees you’re going to accumulate trying to straighten things out after Walmart sends your record to the collection agencies and they ding your credit reports.

  93. Jubilance22 says:

    @dotcomrade: Most likely the buyer did it to protect himself from carrying around hundreds of dollars in cash.

    I’m guessing it took her so long to get receipts for the money orders because she had to get them from the person who bought the money orders, who is the buyer of the car. Maybe it took her or her family some time to get a hold of that person and track down the receipts.

    Either way, that manager needs to be fired, and both the manager and Walmart need to be sued. What they did was inexcusable.

  94. Ayo says:

    after the lawsuit, she will be able to pay for her last two semesters, here kids college tuition, and hell… maybe a new car. now thats a slick deal!

  95. digitalgimpus says:

    @Concerned_Citizen: Yes, clearly is.

    In many cases false police reports need to be done by a *person*, not a company (which the manager was acting on the behalf of). Loophole to escape.

    Besides… they have the lawyers (and good ones) to keep this thing in court for years… I doubt she can afford to retain legal council for that long. It would be a foolish choice. odds of going at it alone even with a law degree are slim.

  96. kc2idf says:

    Lots of talk about a lawsuit, and I agree that this is what should happen next. The ipmact of thi son her is manifold:

    1. $200 they are charging her. A judgement to the contrary will wipe it out.

    2. She has lost two days of her life. Did she have anyplace she needed to be in that time? Classes? Job? Exams? Was any of that impacted?

    3. Reputation. If she is studying criminal justice, and she has now been charged with a felony, regardless of whether or not she’s been convicted, that has to mess up her job prospects.

    4. Because of 3, she may have to find a new career path, hence she may need to do as much as starting her education over. This should be on Wal*Mart’s tab.

  97. bohemian says:

    She needs to sue the f-ing pants off of Walmart for this. I have never bought a money order at a Walmart but I would venture to guess they track them by money order number in their computer system. Even our rinky dink grocery store does so. The manager should have been able to look them up and confirm the face value of each money order.

    Crap like this is a good reminder why you should not shop at places that seek retribution on customers. This isn’t the first person who has been sent to collections after being wrongly accused of shoplifting.

  98. yet another reason to avoid wal-mart, if there weren’t plenty already.

  99. audiochick says:

    This is like the ultimate example of Wal-Mart demanding to see a legitimate customer’s receipt! Poor girl!

  100. jackal676 says:

    Believe it or not, there are a lot of young adults who don’t have a checking account. And she won’t be denied any jobs because of this. If they dropped the charges, then she won’t have any type of criminal record resulting from this unfortunate situation.

  101. moore850 says:

    @kc2idf: 4. There needs to be one of those “wal-mart” style punishments, yknow, where you have to wear a sandwich board that says “I ARE STUPID”… that manager should have to wear one for a few weeks out in front of the store.

  102. Cool Dude says:

    That’s fucked up.

  103. LibertyReign says:

    @GMFish:

    because you are now guilty until proven more guilty in this country..the special part how it is now the corporations that take it upon themselves to enforce police powers..

    you might as well take out the constitution and wipe your ass with it..the President does..

  104. whydidnt says:

    WTF? Seriously, doesn’t Wal-Mart keep track of the MOs they sell? How could they claim these were forged when they weren’t? When they issue a money order they have to keep a copy of it. How hard would it have been for them to locate the copies before pressing charges?

    How can they keep her in jail for 2 straight days based upon a he said, she said dispute? I usually think most racist claims are BS, but I bet if this was a 35 year old white man, he wouldn’t have spent 5 minutes behind bars.

    This is so wrong, we have to be missing part of the story, don’t we? Please say there is more to it.

  105. Breach says:

    Wow, hope they enjoy the pending lawsuit! Simple solution though, just never go there, for any reason.

  106. parabola101 says:

    this story just doesn’t sound right… hummmmmm

  107. luz says:

    @whydidnt: That was precisely my point. It may have been ageism, racism, both or neither, but unless something’s missing in the story I can’t imagine what else that jackass manager was thinking.

  108. surgesilk says:

    Her mother should go to jail for 2 days for naming her ‘Nitra’.

  109. allstarecho says:

    Did they even give her money orders back to her?

  110. Crymson_77 says:

    @allstarecho: If not, they are going to have a bigger lawsuit on their hands than even the Walmart lawyers can handle…criminal and civil abound! Go N! Rape Walshat like they do everyone else!

  111. backbroken says:

    @TakingItSeriously: @chiieddy:

    If she takes this to court, I hope Wal-Mart has 27 8X10 color glossy pictures, with the circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was to be used against her.

  112. gliscameria says:

    it’s bad enough that wal-mart called the cops, it’s funkin terrifying they she was arrested and in JAIL FOR 48 HOURS, with NO evidence of wrongdoing? How are you innocent until proven guilty when they can put you in jail with nothing but suspicion? That’s a great way to turn an otherwise good citizen into a criminal. Forget about lawsuits, If had to crap in front of a room full of poeple for two days, I’d want to inflict some serious suffering and embarassment.

  113. tripnman says:

    @backbroken: It will just be another case of American blind justice. The judge isn’t going to look at the 27 8″ x 10″ color glossy photographs with a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what it was to be used against her.

  114. JohnMc says:

    I am surprised that the KHOU reporter did not question the comment about pressing charges on the spot. Police Officers don’t press charges. Nor do most DA’s in nonbodily injury cases without the aggrieved party being willing to.

    WalMart is in deep dodo. So is the manager who most likely is going to lose their job. WM corp. security most likely makes the the decision on prosecution. Not some store manager. So he probably overstepped his authority. Which will probably be WM’s defence what good it will do.

    Sue the end caps off of them.

  115. awolcfh5150 says:

    I hope she takes them for all their worth!

  116. PølάrβǽЯ says:

    Wow, I am surprised some folks can be so ignorant.

    First of all, there are no such things as “Wal-Mart Money Orders.” Wal-Mart sells Money Gram money orders, which are also sold at many other stores such as Safeway and Albertson’s.

    Second of all, the title is QUITE misleading. No person or private entity can throw another in jail; only the POLICE can. No person or private entity can charge another with a crime, either; only the District/Prosecuting Attorney can. That said, it shows that the Police and District Attorney in that town are just as ignorant as the managers at Wal-Mart.

    This girl should sue the POLICE in this matter for false arrest, as they arrested her for a crime that they had absolutely no proof of. If the district attorney follows through with the charges, then she can also sue them for malicious prosecution.

    She may even be able to sue Wal-Mart for filing a false police report against her (as that is a crime in most states), although if the police and DA have common sense, they’ll arrest that stupid manager for it.

  117. ohyeahright says:

    1. Felony charges will still show up on a background check done before the verdict is recorded. The Consumerist didn’t specify that charges were dropped, but I assume that’s what happened when the DA let her out of jail. If that’s NOT what happened, she’s going to have trouble.

    2. If she’s selling her car to pay tuition, she’ll probably have trouble paying a lawyer. I don’t know where her school is (and don’t care enough to look it up), but if her school or any nearby school has a law school, she should consult their counseling services.

  118. axiomatic says:

    Sue Wal-mart with the fist of an angry god!

  119. Sidecutter says:

    @xanax25mg: Bail? HELL NO. Not unless you’re being anally raped in the jail. Why the hell should you pay the local bail bond person to get out of jail when you’re in there for no actual reason? You don’t just get the bail money back…

  120. drunxor says:

    @Jbball:

    i love target. ive never ever been in a walmart, thank god!

  121. Osi says:

    Sue them then run them over.

    Manager needs to be shot, and go up the courts to take the AG to court. That scumbag have no right.

  122. JiminyChristmas says:

    Man, I’m sorry if you’re just learning this, but that’s the law of the land. Police can hold anyone for 48 hours based on suspicion alone. After 48 hours they have to charge you (after which you can post bail) or release you, but your ass is theirs for two days if they want to hold you.

    Meanwhile, this story is a blast from the past. Anyone remember this one:

    Racial Profiling Feared at Wal-Mart

    GAF has been spending about $50,000 a year on gift cards at the Wal-Mart Supercenter at 11110 Causeway Blvd. in Brandon. For years GAF sent a white, female administrator to buy them without incident. This time, when she was on vacation the day before Thanksgiving, Pitts did the job himself. He phoned in the order for 520 cards, got the accounting department to issue Wal-Mart a $13,600 check and then encountered a royal hassle trying to exchange it for gift cards at the store…
    …Later, two Hillsborough County sheriff’s deputies appeared. One grabbed Pitts by the arm. He objected to the rough handling and asked if he was being arrested.

    I have to believe that this whole thing happened due to both incompetence and malice on the part of the Wal-Mart manager. Money Orders have serial numbers, ergo their validity can be verified by contacting the issuer. I can’t think of any defensible reason a manager would have someone arrested in these circumstances.

    And what are the police supposed to do? If a Wal-Mart manager tells them someone is trying to pass a forged Wal-Mart money order it seems like the manager is the one who is supposed to know this.

  123. scoobydoo says:

    The Walmart PR department must be working overtime to get at least one horrible story published every day. It’s like they know they are hated, and just don’t care any longer.

  124. GothGirl says:

    WalMart is batting a 1000 lately…. when is big too big? And when will folks start to get so sick of WalMart’s antics they start shopping somewhere else…. ?

  125. DH405 says:

    Guess she’ll get enough money out of this to pay for college AND a new car.

    I wonder if the settlement will go on their wall of “We’re so good to the community OMG” crap.

  126. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:

    @jackal676: And she won’t be denied any jobs because of this. If they dropped the charges, then she won’t have any type of criminal record resulting from this unfortunate situation.

    Sadly, this just isn’t true.

    This arrest will remain on her record for the rest of her life, and will show up on every criminal records and background check she is subjected to. Even without a conviction, it will automatically disqualify her from employment with many police forces and government agencies, and will automatically disqualify her from getting a firearm permit in some places (Oklahoma, for example). Given that she’s a criminal justice major, this arrest is going to seriously fuck up her career opportunities for a long time.

    Even in those places where she isn’t automatically disqualified by statute or policy, a felony arrest record will seriously prejudice any application for a career in law enforcement. Or a firearms permit application. Or getting bonded. Or an application for security clearance. Or an application to adopt a baby.

    Given that she was charged with forgery – which includes elements of both dishonesty and money – she can pretty much forget about any job involving significant sums of money. This includes just about every high level executive position in any company anywhere. In certain industries (securities, insurance, casinos, for example), she likely won’t be considered for any job at all above receptionist.

  127. phelander says:

    Make it Nitra-Mart. I’d shop there.

  128. trujunglist says:

    @midwestkel:

    I dunno, I’m glad shit like this doesn’t happen to me. You can easily get lost in a jail with all the shit that goes on, and being there is not exactly a good time. Not sleeping for 2 days straight is enough to make you insane, especially when you didn’t commit a crime, plus all the other shit that goes on in there.
    Here’s hoping she gets an assload of money, because just being in jail for an hour would cause me to ask for many thousands of dollars in compensation.

  129. Leah says:

    I wonder if Walmart doesn’t cash money orders. I was pretty pissed once when I went to 7-11 to cash a 7-11 money order, and they told me that they only gave out money orders and didn’t cash them. I had to go to my bank to cash the damn thing.

  130. bobpence says:

    WM’s negligence w/r/t verifying VALID money orders aside, the situation sounds fishy, and the account is clearly incomplete.

    “Last two semesters”? Hmm, I have attended four universities and never paid for more than one semester at a time, and I’m not sure they even accept cash. Why not deposit them? Exchanging money orders for cash is a little unusual. Like a Lance Lawson mystery, she told us an unnecessary detail that trips up the whole story.

    As to her producing receipts, I would surmise that she contacted the car buyer.

  131. You-Me-Us says:

    Worst person, Mr. Olbermann?

  132. Mike8813 says:

    @Jbball: Exactly. While I don’t necessarily agree that they all should DIE, I do agree with avoiding them at all costs. I too shop at Target, and don’t mind spending the extra dough to avoid Wal-Mart.

  133. Slow2Whine says:

    Wow, Wal-Mart really shot themselves in the foot with this one. Too bad we wont hear the details of the upcoming settlement because they’ll attach a non-disclosure agreement to it.

  134. bbagdan says:

    I would say she deserves at least a 6 figure settlement. I normally hate nuisance lawsuits, but any time you are thrown in jail your life is at risk.

  135. Jetgirly says:

    @bobpence: The university where I did my first degree still accepts credit cards, but the university where I went to grad school only takes cash, personal cheques, debit and online transfers. No credit. None. It’s a new policy as of this spring semester. They say they are going to funnel the savings from transaction fees into student financial aid. We’ll see about that. Also, while it’s normal to pay tuition one semester at a time, both universities that I went to offered discounts on residence fees if you paid the entire year in full at once. Maybe she had other fees to pay as well. AS WELL, I don’t see anything that indicates she was going to use the money to pay for two semesters of tuition immediately. Even if she only needed half the money right away, you can’t sell half a car.

  136. Tzepish says:

    @Ariah: “In a way, isn’t this good luck for Ms. Gipson? She’ll probably end up with a nice settlement check.”

    What? No, no, absolutely not. I’d much rather go about my business as usual than go through all of this and then be awarded money for it.

  137. guevera says:

    These are the sort of the cases I cite whenever some blow hard starts talking about limiting punitive damages or some other form of “tort reform.”

  138. WTRickman says:

    @TinyBug: I wonder if a judge can order the arrest expunged given the circumstances.

  139. Ein2015 says:

    @Jbball: So true. I refuse to shop Walmart, for this and a few thousand other reasons.

    Hell, just go in one of these stores and look around. It’s disgusting. The people are disgusting. The products are disgusting.

  140. Pithlit says:

    Wal Mart is evil. I haven’t stepped foot in one in years. I hope this story makes the rounds in the media. No one in their right mind will ever step foot in one again if they have a choice. There was already a million reasons not to shop there.

  141. godlyfrog says:

    @bobpence: You have several valid points, but none of them invalidates her story. The money orders were valid, so it doesn’t matter if she was depositing them in an account or getting cash. Perhaps someone else is writing the check for her since she doesn’t have a checking account. Most banks don’t accept third party checks anymore due to fraud. The article also doesn’t specify that she was paying for both semesters at once, just that she was going to use the money to pay for both semesters.

  142. Pithlit says:

    @aaron8301: I think the manager of a major retailer telling the police that a person is forging false money orders is enough for the police to take a person in. They make arrests for that all the time. It’s really no different than coming in and making an arrest for shop lifting. The police certainly take the word of the store on that as well. No, this woman’s beef is absolutely with Wal Mart. In a just world they would fork over a million or two for her trouble. I hope that’s what it comes to.

  143. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:

    @WTRickman: I wonder if a judge can order the arrest expunged given the circumstances.

    Good question. That would help a lot, I would think. But even expunged records aren’t really gone, and are still seen by certain inquiries (like FBI applicants, etc).

    Sadly, the lawyer work necessary to look into that and/or have it done aren’t the kind that are done on contingency. I suppose she can look into it after she gets the settlement check in a year or two.

  144. Boberto says:

    @LorneReams: WalMart hires many local law enforcement as private security guards.

  145. marsneedsrabbits says:

    @Bladefist:

    I agree with you, but if she is selling her car to pay for school, she doesn’t have the money to sue anyone. Let alone wal-mart. She is unfortunately going to remain a victim in this.

    Nah. Some enterprising lawyer will take this pro-bono or on a percentage basis to help her out. If there is a settlement to be had, someone will help her with this.

  146. mythago says:

    I hate frivolous lawsuits as much as the next guy but

    Oh, drop it. “Frivolous lawsuit” is code for “any lawsuit filed by somebody I don’t like, or that I personally would never file because I think it’s stupid”.

  147. agency says:
  148. rioja951 - Why, oh why must I be assigned to the vehicle maintenance when my specialty is demolitions? says:

    @badhatharry: That and probably a very nice new car. Plus whatever you can squeeze out of those bastids.

  149. scoosdad says:

    @pixiegirl1:

    they also screwed her because she’s a criminal justice major (it’s going to be impossible to get a job in any level of law enforcement with a felony record).

    Where does it say in the article that she was tried and convicted? Last time I checked, in this country (including Texas) you had to have that part happen to you in order to have a felony record. She was released from jail by the district attorney because she provided proof of innocence.

  150. @ThunderRoad: It’s only libel if it’s in print.

  151. cortana says:

    And of course, she needs to file mail fraud charges against walmart for sending her that false bill, as well. Might as well do it right!

  152. Snarkysnake says:

    ” …and bless mommy and daddy and sister even though she married a dope addict and my dog gunner and dear Lord, please ,please , please let me be on the jury that hears the damages case in Wal mart vs. Gipson”

    “Amen”

  153. ginnylavender says:

    Texas Southern is a historically Black college. I suspect there is some racism involved in why the Walmart manager suspected they were forged.

  154. jackspat2 says:

    [www.click2houston.com]

    The story. LEGIT

  155. mattindustries says:

    I would print something out about this walmart and plaster it across all of the doors. Something to the effect of, “Walmart had me thrown in jail for 2 days because I shop here, are you next?” sounds nice.

  156. scerwup says:

    @RChris173: Sadly, you are mistaken, I don’t know about other states, but here in Texas, your arrest record shows up as well, and it is often perceived the same as a conviction record. I personally have 3 burglary of a vehicle arrests, they found out I had nothing to do with it and dismissed the case, as in never went to trial, or anything like that. As in, decided that oh, we were wrong, you didn’t have anything to do with this, case dismissed. Yet, when I go to anything that requires a background check, they always ask me why I was stealing from people’s cars. This makes it very difficult to get any kind of job, even something as simple as mopping a freakin’ floor somewhere, much less a professional job, such as something in the criminal justice field. Theft charges and arrests, even without convictions or trials will totally ruin your chances of getting anything in Texas. If I were her I would have my lawyer make this point quite clearly in court, so that I could offset some of the humiliation and rejection that comes along with having a theft arrest on my record. I would offset it with a bunch of money from Wal-Mart. Hehe, and I certainly would not take a check from Wal-Mart either, since as they themselves have pointed out, a piece of paper with the Wal-Mart name on it, intended to complete a financial transaction, is apparently fraudulent and should be trusted by noone, including Wal-Mart themselves. So, I would be requesting a wire transfer or a briefcase full of cash. Seriously, I would, I would make it a part of my case. Any half competent lawyer would tear Wal-Mart apart for this in front of a jury, I don’t care how many lawyers they have on their legal team, they are going to lose this, and will probably settle for a fairly princely sum.

    Good luck Ms. Gipson, my heart goes out to you, you have some hard times ahead because of Wal-Mart and I hope you rape them without the benefit of any lube!!!

  157. dweebster says:

    Just when you thought an evil company could not get any eviler- congratulations, Walmart. You now deserve to burn in hell eleven times.

  158. Invalid_User_Name says:

    I’m with the “sue Walmart” team.

  159. imaLttlGrl says:

    @dotcomrade: & @Lucky225:
    Also because it is just good practice to leave behind a paper trail. The buyer does not know who the seller is. There have been cases of people “selling” their cars for cash then turning around and saying that the person did not pay the full amount or that they didn’t purchase it at all and that they stole it from them.

    @picardia:
    At the Wal*Mart in my city the purchase/cashing of money orders and checks in general (for a fee) is done at the customer service desk. The bank is for customers of the bank.

    So even more of a reason that it should not have been an issue, it is for regular people without bank accounts, or whatever, to be able to get “legitimate”, “acceptable” forms of payment. However, this does not seem to be the case, because they don’t even accept their own payouts.

    Man o’ man, I wish I wasn’t a college student and could afford to shop elsewhere. Anywhere else.

  160. photoartist says:

    A little over a year ago there was another case of a black person being arrested or being black in Texas. It was at a Wells Fargo Bank in Plano, Texas. A vigilant bank teller called the police when she spotted a suspicious black man sitting at one of the manager’s desks.

    He was in fact, there to transfer a car title and the manager who was helping him stepped in back to retrieve the appropriate paperwork. The teller did not bother to ask the manager of the man’s intent, she just acted unilaterally and called a SWAT team.

    The poor man was arrested at gunpoint, and his wife and child (who were waiting outside in the car) were also detained at gunpoint. The police never apologized to the man and to add insult to injury, the ass-clown branch manager said on camera to the local TV news that he ‘stood behind his teller’s actions,’ despite the horrible fact that they arrested a innocent man at gunpoint.

    I never saw a follow up story to this in the following weeks. It’s pretty apparent that Wells Fargo Bank had to shell out millions to silence this case and make it go away.

    I suspect that the exact same thing will occur in this young woman’s case. WalMart will pay out millions to silence her. And we will unfortunately never have closure to this atrocious anecdote.

  161. mike says:

    I think she could even sue for libel, seeing that they falsely imprisoned her and accused her for being a thief.

    I’m not big city lawyer but that there sounds like money to me.

  162. CristianoPlatypus says:

    The only problem with all these “sue Wal-Mart” comments is that Wal-Mart
    is insanely good at legal maneuvering and stalling. This lady was not
    in the wrong in any way that I can tell, but Wal-Mart would tie this up
    in court like you wouldn’t believe, I’ve heard of them doing it again
    and again with the simplest issue.

    The reason for this is of course to create enormous legal fees that
    would pressure most people in trying to figure a way out of the mess and
    Wal-Mart can get off by offering only paying for the legal fees and not
    admitting any form out guilt.

  163. freejazz38 says:

    @Jbball: Um, Target is no better

  164. RandomHookup says:

    @pixiegirl1: Only conviction matters, not arrest. It will often show up in a background check though, so she may have to deal with it in some manner for a while.

  165. Bix says:

    @dotcomrade:

    Money orders can also be paid for via debit card, at least at the post office they can…

  166. MrEvil says:

    That Wal-mart manager just might win this year’s Biggest Douche in the universe award. The cop might be in the running too.

    That being said, it’s important to keep some kind of bank account, even if it’s not a checking account. Most Community Credit Unions have a member savings account that requires a very small minimum balance. The CU I bank with is only $25 and gives me priveledges of check cashing and gett cashier’s checks.

    Oh, and I’ve learned to only accept money orders from the Post Office. You can cash them at any post office and know immediately if they’re legitimate or not, Plus, postal money orders waste less paper if you’re into the whole green thing.

  167. Anonymous says:

    Am I the only one who thinks there SHOULD NOT be a resolution for a while? The speculation that this may impact her career is enough for me to think that she should see a lawyer and make sure her bases are covered. The lawyer will probably be willing to take the case without cash upfront, but they’ll take about 1/3 of the settlement. A few years from now if her peers are getting jobs at a level she can’t, that should impact the settlement (if not legally it still should morally).

  168. mbd says:

    Western Union locations will NOT cash Western Union Money Orders. Give you an idea of how worthless they are.

    Bank/Teller checks can have stop payments put on them.

    She should have required cash or Certified check. Anything else, and she would have been better off accepting a personal check. At least they now clear quickly.

  169. LionelEHutz says:

    She should sue the m-fers.

  170. LibertyReign says:

    @JiminyChristmas:

    LOL what can the police do?

    Ahahah how about investigate the crime?!?!? Yeah..that USED to be their jobs, remember?? Wait how old are you? Perhaps you DON’T remember living in a free country!

    You don’t get to arrest someone caus esomeone else SAID they committed a crime ahaha. It is the responsibility of the police to investige FIRST. Hence false imprisonment and false arrest being serious crimes.

    Welcome to the Police State America. Enjoy your stay! *slam*

  171. Aisley says:

    Man, when you think that Wal*Mart can’t fall any lower (they’re already under the basement), something comes up and there goes Wal*Mart, proving you wrong!

    Hey, hey, Wal*Mart people, if you don’t want to donate to “legitimate” causes or other stuff, you know what? don’t do it. We all can live without it! The only thing we ask for is that you don’t hire any more STUPID PEOPLE! Shut! My daughter has autism, what’s YOUR excuse!

  172. FrankReality says:

    Not only Walmart is culpable in this case, I think the local police department should also be held accountable. Insufficient evidence presented to support the charge.

    And I hope that the DA cleared her record when he dropped the charges. Unfortunately, sometimes that doesn’t happen, which may cause damage when she tries to find a law enforcement job. Just being charged is enough to cause her difficulty.

  173. SayAhh says:

    Case in point, for those who think Wal-Mart should get into the banking business. If you thought it was hard to cash checks, just wait until you try to reverse bogus overdraft fees!

  174. LaurenFazool says:

    To the people who are concerned about arrest records – Chapter 55 of the
    Texas Code of Criminal Procedure allows expungement of arrest records if
    there’s no conviction – the person who has the three arrests, but no
    convictions, for attempted theft from a vehicle should get the records
    sealed so they don’t bite him anymore.

  175. localhouston says:

    the media doesnt tell the whole story, and can make some things look different. Im from the area and I heard that she sole her car to someone who was not in the state, they mailed her the money orders and was coming to the state to pick the car up after she cashed them but that didnt happen. She went to jail, she didnt get the money orders back until she was released b/c she was still under investigation. Thats when she had to show reciepts, she’s a tsu student like me you can pay tuition with cash or credit at any time as long as you are registered with classes. No checks at tsu

  176. captbob says:

    How did this end up?

  177. carmenlhs says:

    This young lady MUST file suit against them. Felony Charges, two days in jail for their errors? Hmmmm! Store manager should be fired and not allowed to work in such a capacity again. This young lady should also sue this manager individually.

    I dont use Walmart any longer. I tried to return ink cartridges for a printer that died ( Too expensive to fix as it was old) so I bought new printer…tried to return ink from old one ( No receipt- it is lost)…they have me at the counter for 20 minutes saying yes the UPC codes below to Walmart etc…but we can not even give you store credit without a receipt….she threw cartridges back in the bag and handed them to me saying I had to go she couldn’t help me. All I asked for was a sore credit so I could get the correct ink for new printer….I now have $100.00 worth of ink I can not use.