BROWNSVILLE (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — A former South Texas juvenile justice department employee — arrested for felony theft after authorities say he acknowledged stealing $1.2 million worth of fajitas over nine years — was sentenced to fifty years in prison Friday.

The fifty-three-year-old Gilberto Escamilla pleaded guilty to ‘theft by public servant’ according to the Brownsville Herald.

In August of 2017, Gilberto Escamilla was fired and arrested after authorities obtained a search warrant and found packages of the Tex-Mex food in his refrigerator.

Investigators subsequently checked vendor invoices and determined he would intercept county-funded food deliveries and deliver them to his own customers. He wasthen arrested for felony theft in  October.

The scheme imploded when he missed work one day in August for a medical appointment and a delivery driver showed up with 800 pounds of fajitas, but officials said the juvenile department didn’t serve fajitas.

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

Cameron County Assistant District Attorney Peter Gilman told the court he thought it was important that a strong message be sent that theft by public servants will result in a long prison sentence.

 

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