The three men arrested in California were benefiting off of the “fruits of others’ labor.” Read on to learn why these men are now facing criminal charges.
Avocados are full of vitamins and minerals and one of the most desired fruits on the market today. If you have purchased one, or two, or even three lately, you probably have found that avocados are rather profitable as they aren’t exactly cheap. The average cost for an avocado is $1.27 each according to Fox News, although that could change based on the supply and demand for them.
Apparently, three men, who happened to work for the world’s leading production and distribution company that supply Hass avocados, caught on to the advantage avocados have over other fruits. They decided they wanted a piece of the pie, or of the avocado profits in this case.
According to NBC Los Angeles, the three men were employed by Mission Produce. Mission Produce provides its customers with the “world’s finest avocados” year-round and have packing facilities in five countries along with eight regional ripening centers in North America. According to the news source, the three men identified as Joseph Valenzuala, 38, Carlos Chavez, 28, and Rahim Leblanc, 30, were accused of skimming avocados off the top of the batch and selling them for cash.
How Much Did the Employees Steal?
According to Sgt. John Franchi of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department, the men were taking these avocados and selling them on the side. This is considered an unauthorized transaction which means the men were dabbling in illegal activity. Allegations were made which prompted the investigation and once the activity was confirmed, the detectives served multiple warrants for the arrest of these three men.
Mission Produce is accusing the men of selling approximately $300,000 worth of avocados illegally which now has them facing grand theft charges. Right now, it would be in the best interest of all three men to hire a local California criminal defense lawyer as the investigation is on-going and may reveal more charges.
The detectives handling the matter have stated that there is a possibility that the men sold the avocados to “unknowing customers” who were under the impression that they were paying Mission Produce for their fruit.
What are the penalties for grand theft in California?
A person can be convicted of grand theft in California if they:
- Take money, labor, or real or personal property that is valued above $950.
- When someone steals fowls, avocados, olives, citrus or deciduous fruits, or other farm crops that amount to more than $250.
There are other times when a person might be charged with grand theft, but in this case, the three men definitely exceeded the amount stipulated in California Code 487. And based on the amount they stole, they are more than likely going to face jail time, fines, and other fees that all come along with each criminal charge.
Anyone facing a charge of grand theft should always consider hiring a local California criminal defense lawyer as they help represent you in court, determine if the penalties are applicable to the crime, and work to get your sentence reduced.