Just like me, most of you will probably do your groceries at least once a week. The most expensive item in there is probably the meat. Maybe you pay 20 to 40 dollars for that weekly meat for your family, maybe more. Depends on what you eat.
Try imagining $1.2 million worth of meat now. Whole lot of meat isn’t it?
That amount is exactly what a South Texas juvenile justice department employee called Gilberto Escaramilla is accused of stealing over a nine year period through county-funded purchases. Tiny detail: it was all fajitas.
Mr Gilberto Escaramilla’s brilliant plan imploded when he took a day off and someone else answered the phone. If not, he would still be selling state-funded fajitas to a lot of restaurants and shops in the area.
On August 7, Mr. Escaramilla had probably gone to the beach for a day with the family when a driver from Labatt Food Service in Harlingen called ahead to the juvenile justice center to say that he would be shortly arriving with some 800 pounds of fajitas. The woman who answered the phone was alarmed as her kitchen does not serve fajitas.
She then informed her supervisor who got to talking with the driver. The latter told them that he had been delivering fajitas for the last nine years. From that moment on, there was a search through the accounting books and when Mr Escaramilla returned to work the next day he was immediately fired and subsequently arrested.
When police officers searched the Escaramilla family house they found multiple fridges all stuffed with the Tex-Mex food.
Cameron County District Attorney, Mr Luis V. Saenz said: "If it wasn't so serious, you'd think it was a Saturday Night Live skit. But this is the real thing. He would literally, on the day he ordered them, deliver them to customers he had already lined up. We've been able to uncover two of his purchasers, and they are cooperating with the investigation."
Of course this should have been spotted a long time, something which Mr Saenz admits: "Up and down the chain of authority, people were signing off on these things. It's upsetting because the auditor gets a detailed invoice where it states the breakdown of what's delivered, so they should've seen it."