Noemi Ramirez says she didn't initially realize the cash she got back from the 76 gas station was fake. She tried to buy groceries at Walmart and realized two of the $20 bills were counterfeit.
When Ramirez went back to the gas station to get her money back, she says gas station employees referred her to United Pacific customer service.
Ramirez says Oceanside Police officers were able to verify her story through surveillance video. However, she says they could not force the gas station to give her back the $40.
"We are depending on one income, and those $40 are groceries for two days for my family. So I'm really upset that they took that money directly out of my daughter's mouths," said Ramirez.
Oceanside Police is turning the case over to the U.S. Secret Service which investigates counterfeiting crimes.