A sentence has been handed down to the man who has been dubbed “the fajita bandit.”
Gilberto Escamilla was sentenced to 50 years for stealing what investigators believe to have amounted to $1.2 million worth of food from the Cameron County Juvenile Justice Department.
The Texas man had been scamming the tax payers for as many as nine years before being caught. It was a doctor’s appointment that set off the chain of events that would finally bring him to justice.
According to the Brownsville Herald, the Cameron County Juvenile Justice Department would receive a shipment of hundreds of pounds of fajitas on a regular basis. However, fajitas were not an item that was on the facility’s menu.
In the past, Escamilla was there to receive those shipments and sign for them. He would then take the hundreds of pounds of fajitas and deliver them to purchasers that investigators said were “lined up.”
After going back and looking at the books, and examining past purchases, it was learned that Escamilla had stolen $1.2 million in fajitas that were paid for by the tax payers.
District Attorney Luis V. Saenz said that the purchases were overlooked up and down the chain of command,
“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.”
The theft was discovered after Escamilla took a day off of work to attend a medical appointment.
A driver from Labatt Food Service, a vendor for the juvenile center, called the kitchen to notify them that there was an 800 pound order of fajitas ready to be delivered.
The driver was told that fajitas were not an item that the facility purchased, but the driver insisted, identifying Escamilla as the individual who would usually receive the orders.
The Cameron County Juvenile Justice Department employee immediately grew suspicious and notified their superior of the matter.
The case was then referred to the District Attorney’s Office Special Investigations Unit, and a search of Escamilla’s home revealed a fridge with packets of fajitas inside.
At least two purchasers that bought the stolen goods were fully cooperating with investigators.
District Attorney Saenz said that if the situation was not so serious, you would think that it would be from a Saturday Night Live skit,
“What do you tell the taxpayers? What do you tell the housewife and the blue collar worker that pay their county taxes, when paying their taxes takes a big bite out of their paycheck? How do you explain that? They’ve got the right to be upset. It is upsetting.”
As stated previously, 53-year-old Escamilla has been sentenced to 50 years in prison.