Criminal Justice

$50K-a-year bakery worker and wife lived lavishly while laundering $16.6M, feds say

The former controller of a Texas bakery known for its high-end fruitcakes lived a lavish lifestyle, along with his wife, as the two laundered $16.6 million he stole from his employer, the feds say.

Both Sandy Jenkins, 65, and his wife, Kay Jenkins, 63, were charged Wednesday in a superseding Dallas federal grand jury indictment with money-laundering and other felonies, the Star-Telegram reports. He was charged with mail fraud last year; this is the first time that she has been charged.

Observers living in the town of Corsicana, where the Collin Street Bakery is located, marvel that such a massive alleged theft could go undetected for years. Hayden Crawford, a bakery partner who serves as its marketing chief, said senior managers knew something was amiss but looked in all the wrong places to try to figure the reason for its lean profits, another Star-Telegram article recounts.

Seeming red flags, in retrospect, might include the $3.2 million the couple allegedly spent on chartered flights to exotic vacation spots, their $784,000 vacation home in Santa Fe, N.M., their luxury vehicles and their lavish entertaining—augmented, the feds say, by now-seized possessions such as a nearly 600-bottle wine collection, a $2,500 Waterford ice bucket and a $60,000 Steinway piano. However, Crawford says the family-owned, family-operated bakery held trust in its employees to be a bedrock principle and looked to its labor costs and possible mismanagement or inventory theft to provide a possible explanation.

It wasn’t until a new accounting employee at the bakery noticed a $20,000 check had been written for a $10,000 expense and took her concern to upper management that the theft was discovered. Federal authorities say $16.6 million was embezzled through nearly 900 such checks bearing the CEO’s electronic signature that wound up in Sandy Jenkins’ accounts, the newspaper reports.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation says the couple was spending about $250,000 a month, racking up a total of some $11 million in American Express charges which were paid for with bakery funds, reports the Corsicana Daily Sun.

“We are obviously far better at making a quality fruitcake than spotting a thief,” Crawford told the Star-Telegram.

Hat tip: Daily Mail.

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