Single mom faces jail time for selling food on Facebook
Facebook may sometimes seem like an alternate reality where the rules of the real world don't apply, but one woman is finding out the hard way that there really are rules. Mariza Ruelas, a single mother of six from Stockton, California, may end up going to jail for selling a plate of homemade ceviche through a Facebook group she joined for fellow foodies.
For several years, Ruelas has been a member of 209 Food Spot, a Facebook group where members trade recipes, organize potlucks, and occasionally sell each other food. Sounds innocent enough, but on December 3, 2015, she sold a plate of her signature ceviche to what turned out to be an undercover agent, working a sting on the group.
The group had been sent a warning before charges were issued, but Ruelas, along with about a dozen other group members, were caught and given misdemeanors for operating a food business without permits. But she was hardly running an underground empire — she only sold a plate here or there. Nevertheless, food served to the public without supervision from the health department is considered a risk.
All of those charged in the sting were offered a plea deal for three years probation, but Ruelas was the only one who refused to take it. Now she alone is facing trial, telling Fox40 News that the experience has been "unreal." It remains to be seen whether she'll be forced to leave her children and serve time, but her legal trouble is a good reminder in this age of Facebook Marketplace that just because you can sell something online doesn't mean you should.
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