Unsavory Surprise: Executive Embezzles Almost $17 Million From Famous Fruitcake Bakery
Sandy Jenkins and his wife Kay’s lavish spending sprees included getting a new luxury vehicle “every time they needed an oil change,” prosecutors say.
While the Grinch may have tried to steal Christmas, an employee at a world-famous fruitcake bakery managed to gobble up millions of dollars in profits in what turned out to be a massive embezzlement scheme.
Beginning around December 2004, prosecutors said Sandy Jenkins began defrauding Collin Street Bakery, a business based in Corsicana, Texas, that sells as many as 20,000 fruitcakes a day during the busy holiday season.
Over the course of the next nearly nine years, Jenkins, who began his job as corporate controller for the bakery in 1998 and reportedly earned around $50,000 a year, embezzled $16,766,645.70 by issuing 888 fraudulent checks.
Jenkins had access to company checks and would write them out to his personal creditors, according to the Waco Tribune-Herald. In order to balance the books and evade detection, he voided the checks in the accounting system but used them anyway. He then wrote new checks in the same amounts to legitimate vendors but never sent them.
Jenkins’ wife, Kay, helped him spend the stolen funds. Prosecutors noted she never spoke with him about the scheme and turned a blind eye to their sudden wealth, the Corsicana Daily Sun reported.
Evidence detailed in court papers against the couple show the lavishness of their lifestyle as they blew through the bakery’s money over the years.
According to officials, the couple doled out over $3.3 million to take 223 trips on private jets to Santa Fe, Aspen, Napa and other destinations across the country.
They purchased 38 new vehicles, from a Lexus and Mercedes-Benz to a Bentley and Porsche, “every time they needed an oil change,” prosecutors said.
Sandy and Kay were especially beloved by Neiman Marcus employees in Dallas, where the two spent over $1 million and had the nicknames “Fruitcake” and “Cupcake.” Citing government evidence, prosecutors said the Jenkins were such good customers they had to stop shopping at the high-end department store because “Neiman’s ran out of things to sell them.”
The bulk of the ill-gotten money, $11 million or almost $100,000 per month, was spent to pay off the pair’s Black American Express Card as they stocked up on Rolex watches, jewelry, designer clothing and other luxury items.
Jenkins was fired in June 2013 after an accountant at Collin Street Bakery noticed discrepancies in the books and uncovered the embezzlement scheme.
Sandy pleaded guilty the following year to one count of mail fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, and one count of making a false statement to a financial institution. A judge sentenced him to 120 months in federal prison.
Kay pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, and she was ordered to complete 100 of community service, write a letter of apology to the bakery, and serve five years of probation.
The government recovered roughly $4,000,000 in cash and property of the almost $17 million the Jenkins spent. The couple was ordered to pay Collins Street Bakery restitution jointly in the amount of $12,697,921.79.
For more on this story, start streaming Fruitcake Fraud Dec. 1 on discovery+. This documentary takes viewers to the heart of the small town rocked by the scam.