Woman Arrested for Leaving a $5000 Tip Using Her Boyfriend’s Credit Card

Serina Wolfe is accused of using her boyfriend’s credit card, without his knowledge, to leave a 9030% tip for a server. (Photo: Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office)

A woman in Florida found a new way to exact revenge on her boyfriend when she used his credit card in the most fortunate way for a particular restaurant server. It seems that Serina Wofle was mightily pissed off at her significant other for not being willing to buy her a plane ticket, so after he removed the hold on his credit cad, she promptly went out to dinner and bought herself a $55.37 dinner and then left a 9030% tip.Yes, she left her server $5000. Initially, Serina was seen as a generous customer helping out a server who was going through a difficult time. It turns out, she was just being a vindictive girlfriend with a grudge. After her boyfriend saw the charge and reported it as fraud, she eventually came clean and was arrested for grand theft. The restaurant had already tipped out the server so now all of us want to know one thing:

Will the server get to keep the money?

I’m assuming Serina will get some jail time and I’m also assuming her boyfriend broke up with her, but we all know that server took that $5000 and hightailed it to the bank to make a real meaningful deposit. I’m also hopeful that the server used some of that money to pay off a bill, get some groceries and buy a round of drinks for the kitchen. But what is the legality of the issue? Does the server have to give the money back? I say no, and here’s why.

First off, the server did nothing wrong or illegal. She had, what she thought, was a generous customer who wanted to do some good. That’s her money now. Why should she have to get in the middle of a lovers spat/grand theft bullshit?

Secondly, if the credit card company wants the money back, that’s on the boyfriend and girlfriend. One of them needs to cough up that money and leave the server out of it. Besides, don’t credit card companies have insurance for exactly this reason? Use the insurance, Mastercard!

Thirdly, if restaurants are going to insist that servers pay for walkouts, then servers should get to reap the benefits when something like this happens. Servers already pay credit card processing fees, get shitty hourly wages, they deal with asshole customers who treat them poorly and they have to to tip out support staff and kitchen crews. Let’s see a server make some cold hard cash for a change.

I will follow this story intensely and let you know as soon as I hear whether or not the server had to return the money.*

What do you guys think? Should the server get to keep the money?

* I’ll probably forget all about this story as soon as I hit the submit button.

12 thoughts on “Woman Arrested for Leaving a $5000 Tip Using Her Boyfriend’s Credit Card

  1. Serenity

    That’s a tricky situation. On the one hand, it’s obviously not the server’s fault, and they may have already spent the money, so paying it back may be a hardship. On the other hand, it was stolen money that was given to her, so that is not the fault of the actual credit card owner. also, if your house is broken into, items stolen then resold to unsuspecting people, and found by the actual owners a month later, do the new owners have to give it back? or keep it bc they had no knowledge? best case scenario would be insurance would cover it so that the server and the cc owner are covered. But we all know that the insurance company will want someone to pay, so that probably won’t happen.

    Reply
  2. Miss Kitty

    If the girlfriend had stolen $5000 to pay off her student loans would the loan company give back the money?

    Server keeps the cash.

    Reply
    1. Nicole

      Exactly. Even if she had run up credit card debt another way (like shopping or getting expensive nails& hair), she’d be the one responsible for paying it back unless she declared bankruptcy. And the fact that she did it fraudulently should legally put her on the hook for it even more.

      Reply
  3. Jean

    Won’t this end up being a charge back to the restaurant owner? Maybe I’m thinking wrong on that but if it is, the owner is out $5,000 through no fault of his own. How is that in any way right or fair? She owes the restaurant owner $5,000.

    Reply
  4. Kevin

    In cases of grand theft the person committing the theft is held liable for the amount stolen. If we work it back from there, the girlfriend will owe that money through her own assets. However, in the interim the restaurant will receive a charge back from the credit card company, they will get the money back via the courts.

    Reply
  5. Thomas Nicolai-Vargas

    Hi as much as I would like the server to get to keep the money, I have a few questions. One did the girlfriend have a card on his account with her name on it or was she using a card with a man’s name on it.? Someone using a card obviously with someone else’s name deserves higher scrutiny. Also when some one leaves me a tip way higher than 20% I politely and thankfully ask them if this is correct. Third perhaps the manager should have stepped in and help verify that the customer wanted to leave such a big tip and had the right to do so. It would duck to have to pay back a$5000.00 tip.

    Reply
  6. Beau

    Former server, so don’t shoot the messenger. At least in NC, it would be considered stolen money. And possession of stolen goods (regardless of prior knowledge) is considered a crime. I think that is on the books to help with the return of what was stolen. If you don’t know it was stolen and you return it when asked, you’re in the clear..legally. Sucks, but it’s gotta go back. Putting it on the credit card company to make things right isn’t going to work since there are no Nigerian Prince’s involved and the trail is pretty solid.

    Sorry for the server, but at least they have a great story

    Reply
  7. Kristie

    I was in the business for years so, I wouldn’t have trusted a 5000 grand tip. I also do believe the server should keep it though. I wasn’t there to hear what was said. The girlfriend stole the money she should pay it as a fine and be part of her sentence. I’m also no judge but paying that back with community service, sounds good to me. No way was the server at anyway at fault. I hope she spent it already…. Go pack packing around Europe until it gets cleared up. You deserve at least that.

    Reply
  8. Christina Jump

    Yes the server should get to keep it. I would assume the court would make the girlfriend pay it back in restitution.

    Reply
  9. Kathy

    If you are found in possession of stolen goods, it will be taken from you. That’s the law, even if you had no prior knowledge of the theft/ fraud. No, you can’t keep the car that your friend stole from you. Cash is no different.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *