Miami building inspector indicted on bribery charges
Jose Fabregas accused of pushing construction companies to use lunch truck
A Miami city building inspector was indicted on bribery charges Friday.
According to prosecutors, Jose Fabregas was pushing construction companies to use a certain lunch truck company. He was allegedly getting containers of cash in return, along with Cuban pastries.
"His authority was to cite, fine (and) temporarily stall and shut down a project if the regulations he enforced were not followed," State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said.
It was that kind of power Fabregas had while he was a projects manager for Miami's Building Department.
Prosecutors said he used that power to convince managers of different high-rise condo construction sites to only allow one lunch truck company on site.
"One should know that the construction site lunch truck business can be very lucrative," Fernandez Rundle said. "Fabregas appeared to be making sure that the De Leon catering company was at the most profitable sites downtown."
Investigators placed GPS devices on his truck and used that information to figure out that he was meeting with the owner of the food truck company, Jesus Vargas.
They also used financial records, undercover video and secretly-recorded phone calls to build their case.
"On June 28, Vargas is seen going to Fabregas residence," Fernandez Rundle said. "Fabregas gets in Vargas' vehicle and a task force investigator videotapes Vargas handing Fabregas what appears to be a white envelope."
Prosecutors said that envelope was filled with cash -- almost $8,000 that Fabregas allegedly later used to go on vacation to Spain. Both called the transactions pastelitos.
The cash would often come hidden in a Styrofoam container with Cuban pastries.
Authorities said Fabregas confessed to the scheme after he was arrested and said he had collected more than $50,000 from Vargas.
"Public corruption crimes -- it steals the public's trust, and without trust, governments lose their credibility," Fernandez Rundle said.
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