A Texas county employee is facing a 50-year prison sentence after being convicted of stealing $1.2 million in fajitas.
The 53-year-old former juvenile justice department employee was sentenced Friday for using county funds to steal over one million dollars’ worth of fajita orders and delivering them to his own customers, the Brownsville Herald reported.
“It was selfish. It started small and got bigger and out of control,” Gilberto Escamilla, who pleaded guilty of theft by a public servant, said while testifying. “It got to the point where I couldn’t control it anymore.”
Cameron County authorities arrested Escamilla last year after a food service driver called the Cameron County Juvenile Justice Department kitchen to say he was delivering an 800-pound order of fajitas.
But fajitas are not on the menu at the detention center, as an employee told the driver who said he had been making the deliveries for nine years., the Dallas Morning News reported. Escamilla was fired and then arrested the next day, with police finding packages of the stolen food in his refrigerator when they searched his house.
Visiting state District Judge J. Manuel Banales was asked by Cameron County Assistant District Attorney Peter Gilman to sentence Escamilla to 50 years in order to send a “strong message” that theft by public servants will lead to a long prison sentence.
“We feel a strong message should be sent,” Gilman said, according to the Brownsville Herald.
Escamilla was reportedly given a brief moment to say goodbye to his family before he was escorted out of the courtroom.
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