LANTANA, Fla. - Three years as a bartender at the Old Key Lime House in Lantana, Dani Allen is only now learning former coworkers are accused of cheating their boss.
"If I'm working hard, it's not fair these guys are walking out with three times the amount of money because they're stealing it," said Allen.
Michel Flores, 36, Timothy James Smith, 36, and Ross David Molineaux, face charges of grand theft and organized fraud. Police say they were stealing from the owner right under his nose.
"It's disheartening, we work with these people for years and they'd smile and shake your hand while the other hand is in your back pocket stealing your wallet," said Ryan Cordero, the restaurant owner.
Servers are accused of taking a bill being paid in cash and transferring a food item, like a cheeseburger, to another bill and pocket the money. It's known as a wagon wheel scam.
Cordero says it created an unusual amount of transfers, but the customers weren't being cheated, only the restaurant.
"They rang in or sold fifteen cheeseburgers, but the restaurant was only aware of one cheeseburger and only made money on one cheeseburger," said Cordero.
Now Cordero says he has a top of the line security system installed, linked to cameras throughout the restaurant.
"I can watch cameras from my phone and see every inch of the establishment. I can see every transaction that is happening, it's like I am a ghost that is always here," said Cordero. "It has opened our eyes, you can't trust anyone you'd got to keep your guard up."
The suspects allegedly scammed the restaurant for $93,000 which the owner was able to recover from insurance.
According to police more former employees could be tied to the case.
Police reports indicate one suspect admitted to the scam when he was confronted, and he later wrote an apology in a letter.
Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
One person will win a three-year lease on a 2013 Honda Civic Lx Sedan automatic.
Click to see the latest mugshots, plus this week's wanted fugitives.
This feature packed upgrade brings you faster performance, easier navigation, and stunning improvements to photos, video and readability.
Latest Local News Stories