SALINAS - On March 29, 2019, Fernando Jimenez Hernandez, 45, of Salinas pled no contest, in two different cases, to three felony charges related to insurance and payroll tax fraud, one misdemeanor charge for failing to have workers’ compensation insurance and one misdemeanor charge for serving alcohol to a minor with resulting great bodily injury.
Hernandez owns and manages Tacos Acambaro, a restaurant in Salinas, which has a state license to serve beer and wine. Hernandez has had as many as 20 employees working at Tacos Acambaro since April 1, 2014. The Monterey County District Attorney opened a criminal investigation of Hernandez’s business operations following the tragic death Abraham Requena, 20, on January 30, 2017. According to witnesses and security video, Requena was consuming alcohol beverages inside Tacos Acambaro during on January 29, 2017. The video also revealed that Hernandez was inside his restaurant that evening and revealed Requena’s consumption of alcohol was increasingly leading to intoxicated behavior. At no point did Hernandez or his staff ask for the 20-year-old’s identification. After Requena left the restaurant, he lost control of his car, crashed into a tree, and was killed. Autopsy results showed a .27 blood alcohol level, more than three times the legal limit.
“Those who hold ABC licenses have a responsibility to keep alcohol from being purchased or consumed by those under-21,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. “ABC agents work consistently to check restaurants and stores for compliance, and the loss of a young person’s life is a big reason why.”
In addition to the investigation of the illegal alcohol sales, the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office also investigated Hernandez’s business operations. Investigators verified that he did not have workers’ compensation coverage and had not accurately reported his employee wages and payroll to the Employment Development Department.
Hernandez will be sentenced on August 16, 2019 and faces a minimum of 180 days in jail and will be placed on formal supervised probation. The case was investigated by District Attorney Investigators Martin Sanchez and George Costa, with assistance from the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control’s Salinas office.