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Texas Man Sentenced to 50 Years for Stealing More than $1.2M in Fajitas

Texas Man Sentenced to 50 Years for Stealing More than $1.2M in Fajitas

“We feel a strong message should be sent”

Gilberto Escamilla was sentenced to 50 years in the slammer for stealing more than $1.2 million in fajitas.

Escamilla pled guilty to theft by a public servant.

Escamilla was arrested last year when a truck driver called the Darrel B. Hester Juvenile Detention Center in Harlingen, Texas (where Escamilla worked) alerting employees their 800-pound order of fajitas had arrived, reports the Brownsville Herald. The detention center made no such order.

Food would be delivered, intercepted by Escamilla, who then took his hot goods to sell elsewhere.

From The Herald:

A former Cameron County juvenile detention center employee convicted of stealing more than $1.2 million worth of fajitas was sentenced Friday to 50 years in prison. Gilberto Escamilla, 53, pleaded guilty Friday morning to theft by a public servant.

After the sentence, visiting State District Judge J. Manuel Banales dismissed the first count of theft in the indictment as part of a cold plea.

“It was selfish. It started small and got bigger and out of control,” Escamilla said while testifying. “It got to the point where I couldn’t control it anymore.”

The DA asked the judge for a hefty sentence to send a message to other public servants that crime doesn’t pay (unless you get caught, it would seem):

Cameron County Assistant District Attorney Peter Gilman said in all of his years prosecuting theft cases he has never handled one like this, which amounted to around $1,251,578.

Gilman asked Banales to sentence Escamilla to 50 years to send a message that theft by public servants will result in a long prison sentence.

“We feel a strong message should be sent,” Gilman said.

Escamilla was allowed a brief moment to say goodbye to his family before being escorted away to begin his sentence.


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Embezzling works, right up until somebody decides to do an audit.

Damn. Now I want fajitas.

nordic_prince | April 24, 2018 at 10:06 pm

Escamilla was allowed a brief moment to say goodbye to his family before being escorted away to begin his sentence.

Wait a minute – aren’t we constantly harangued by the Left on how cruel it is to split up families? Or does that only apply to lawbreakers who violate immigration law?

How is it hillary klinton is not behind bars?

One word: Sessions.

    I don’t get it, either. Is Sessions afraid to appear “mean spirited”? Is there possibly a secret grand jury looking at evidence now?

      JusticeDelivered in reply to walls. | April 24, 2018 at 10:47 pm

      Sessions has turned out to be a disappointment.

      C. Lashown in reply to walls. | April 24, 2018 at 11:04 pm

      Geeesh! Come on guys, we’re talking about the government here: Washington, DC. It seems obvious to me that Sessions is dirty somehow! Clinton, or the Dems, has something on the little guy that only he and a few other persons know about. Trump know’s about the crap stain, but just not what flavor of crap – and apparently Sessions isn’t talking.

    JusticeDelivered in reply to | April 24, 2018 at 10:48 pm

    Hillary is not behind bars because she is a high profile celebrity whiner.

      I think it’s simply going down the Hillary rabbit hole of crime will start tieing things to Mueller and his investigation then everylefty starts crying ‘collusion investigation interference!” Rallying the dems for midterms. The soonest they could even think about going after Hillary wouldn’t be until after the midterms are over. Sure a Hillary investigation would be a rally cry to the conservative base, but not nearly as much as the anger motivates the left.

      YellowGrifterInChief in reply to JusticeDelivered. | April 25, 2018 at 2:02 pm

      Along with Trump – he committed perjury when he testified before the NJ Casino Commission. He claimed he was not going to use junk bonds to finance the casinos.

      Considering that the use of high interest junk bonds was material to the bankruptcies that followed, he ripped off a lot more money than this guy. But 50 years would have been about right.

    Ragspierre in reply to | April 25, 2018 at 4:53 am

    If Mr. Establishment wanted Hellary prosecuted, he’s the one with the power to make it happen.

    That IS the truth…

Well, what do you know. They *do* everything bigger in Texas.

JusticeDelivered | April 24, 2018 at 10:46 pm

Did he enter the US legally, did he get amnesty at some point? The second largest group in prisons is Hispanics, number one is blacks. It seems to me that immigration should favor those with high skills and low crime rates.

last, if he and his wife are no legal, toss the out minus their assets.

2nd Ammendment Mother | April 24, 2018 at 11:03 pm

True punishment would have been sending him back to work and letting the inmates know he had fajitas….

It’s bad enough they’re breaking up a family over mere malfeasance and theft. Those aren’t even crimes in many superior cultures.
And remember that the fajita money gave his kids, through no fault of their own, the only life they’ve ever known — life as it is lived by every single other American family with over a million in cash from extralegal activities. Who are we to take it away? It would be inhumane to make the family pay back the money. What are the children supposed to do without that extra cash?
It’s Not Who We Are™

Beaner and fajitas is a winner.

So … for nine years, somebody at the detention center has been paying for fajitas which the center doesn’t serve.

Perhaps Mr Escamilla had an accomplice in the billing department.

    forksdad in reply to tom_swift. | April 25, 2018 at 10:27 am

    He had to have a couple, but most facilities the office doesn’t know what’s on the menu other than the invoices they see. If they do see a menu who’s to link a particular day with food when they never see the product?

    His office assistant/Secretary might have known and maybe a couple of the cook/assistants but if he was careful he could do it alone.

DouglasJBender | April 25, 2018 at 3:38 am

Perhaps Hillary is not incarcerated because no prison is willing to take her.

Government Corruption tautological, as this splendid example of reductio ad absurdum demonstrates.

It is a bit unusual to steal that many fajitas! There has to be an easier way to make a living………….

    Tom Servo in reply to Janelle. | April 25, 2018 at 12:13 pm

    He was buying the meat in bulk, 800 lbs at a time, and reselling it immediately to a network he’d put together, probably street vendors and small restaurants. Since he was getting it for free from the State, he could sell it cheap, and all of the cash went straight into his pocket.

I know many, many murderers, rapists, robbers, guys who beat their victims into comas who got one-fifth or one-tenth of this sentence. Sure prison time plus restitution but fifty years?

    Mac45 in reply to forksdad. | April 25, 2018 at 10:59 am

    Actually, the amount of money stolen by this man was more than the $1.2 million for the fajitas. Other news stories mention that he had been siphoning off other foodstuffs as well. And, he had been doing it for nearly a decade. This was an ongoing criminal enterprise, not a single crime of opportunity.

      forksdad in reply to Mac45. | April 25, 2018 at 12:33 pm

      missing the point. He’s got a life sentence for theft, however much, while violent murderers will walk in a fifth of that time. So when they release a murderer early because they have to keep this guy that’s ok, right?

        Mac45 in reply to forksdad. | April 25, 2018 at 2:48 pm

        Oh, I understood your point. You are saying that harming a person is a far greater criminal offense than stealing money. This is true. But, this man did not commit one count of theft. Or 2. Or 10. He was committing several acts of theft every year for almost 10 years. It was not a case of stealing some money once to keep the car from being repaired or to pay a medical bill. This guy was running a business which entailed regularly stealing an enormous amount of property from his employer and selling it for profit over a decade long period of time. Now, if he committed one felony theft per month for 1oo months and each count would result in only a two year sentence, then he would have been sentenced to 200 years in prison, if he served them consecutively. See? He got off lightly.

        Arminius in reply to forksdad. | April 26, 2018 at 5:26 am

        He didn’t get a life sentence. Since he didn’t commit a violent crime or a sex crime (in Texas what are known as 3G crimes) he’ll be eligible for parole after serving a quarter of his sentence, or 12.5 years, so he could get out when he’s sixty five/sixty six. If he had committed a 3G crime he wouldn’t be eligible until serving half his sentence. Of course, he probably won’t get parole the first time around; I believe he’ll have to wait two years to try again. Dunno for sure, I’m not a lawyer or a jailbird.

        At some point he’ll probably get parole. He could have gotten a sentence of 99 years which means he would have been pushing eighty before he’d have been eligible for parole. So he’s lucky.

        Arminius in reply to forksdad. | April 26, 2018 at 5:58 am

        Oh, and in Texas prisoners also get credit for good time. So if he keeps his nose clean in the pen and works his tail off to impress the parole board he could be out in much less than 12.5 years. I just did a search, and according to the criminal defense attorney web sites I found in the TX Dept. of Corrections prisoners are awarded 3 days of credit for each day served. It doesn’t take any time off the actual sentence, but it does knock down the parole eligibility date or for release to mandatory supervision (not really sure what the difference is but I’m not doing any more research). If the parole board never grants him parole and he’s not eligible for the latter then he’ll have to serve every day of his fifty year sentence. But I seriously doubt he will, not even in Texas. He may be old, gray, and using a walker but eventually he’ll get out.

        Again, he got off lucky given the amount of money he stole. The judge dropped one of the charges and the DA didn’t go for the maximum sentence.

    tom_swift in reply to forksdad. | April 25, 2018 at 11:29 am

    Because of the money involved, and the “corrupt practice by a public official” angle, this guy seems to have qualified for the 99 year max sentence. So in a sense he actually got off easy.

      forksdad in reply to tom_swift. | April 25, 2018 at 12:38 pm

      Heck yes a life sentence is so much more reasonable than a double life sentence for theft.

      Why not the death penalty? Then he’d really get off easy for theft!

      That will teach all those government types that feather bed. What’s the average worth of a congressman again?

I find it ironic that these thefts occurred at the Juvenile Detention facility.

So the public servant who got caught stealing $1.2 million in fajitas gets 50 years.

That’s only $24,000 per year worth of fajitas.

(Can you imagine if the Texas Prison System begins to order fajitas and this guy has to eat them for the next 50 years?)

It was a tasty job while it lasted. Unfortunately he got “Chopped”.

Yes, I had tacos for dinner last night after seeing this. Anyhoo, I always force myself to do the math when I read news articles. So, 800lb order, lets say $5/lb in bulk, that is a $4000 delivery, which means that he had to pull off this scam 3000 times to get that much money. Makes one wonder how they did it so many times w/o getting caught, which then makes one wonder how many others were in on it, from guys at the gate to accounting and billing. If they had them 3X a week, that is still 20 years of fajita orders. But, being .gov, it was more likely $10/lb (even though Safeway charges $7/lb for cooked beef in 1lb packages), so only 3x/wk for 10 years. Still, that is a lot of diverted meat. And it could also be that the normal driver delivered the meat off-site, and it was only a last-minute substitute driver who screwed up the scheme. Seems like too big an operation for only one person to be involved at all levels.