VIDEO: Texas Bakery Coming to the Big Screen

Collin Street Bakery
Collin Street Bakery | Image by Collin Street Bakery/Facebook

A Texas bakery famous for its fruitcakes and a previous embezzlement scheme is set to be featured on the big screen.

Collin Street Bakery in Corsicana will be featured in a movie titled Fruitcake, starring Jennifer Garner and Paul Walter Hauser.

The bakery is no stranger to the spotlight. In 2015, its former accountant, Sandy Jenkins, was sentenced to 10 years for embezzling nearly $16 million.

The Dallas Express spoke with Hayden Crawford, vice president of public relations for Collin Street Bakery, to learn more about the movie and the circumstances surrounding the embezzlement. Crawford grew up in the business as his dad worked at the bakery.

Crawford described Jenkins as a “very quiet, soft-spoken guy.”

“He was of some renown in the community. He loved parties. He loved to donate money to charities, and he’d even go down into our bake shop regularly and hand $10 bills, maybe even $20, to each of the retail employees just as a gift,” Crawford told DX. “You would never think this guy would do anything, much less something bad. It was a gut punch to me when we realized he had really done it. It was a guy that played on our trust.”

Jenkins was hired in 1998 by the CEO at the time, Scott Holloman.

The stealing started with Jenkins taking cash. After that went unnoticed, he wrote himself a check and a downward spiral began that lasted nine years.

The original amount of money thought stolen totaled around $280,000. Semetric Walker, an employee in the company’s financial department, discovered unusual financial activity in 2013. Walker was a bank-trained clerk who ensured the bakery accounts were balanced each month.

After she commented on a weird transaction to Jenkins, he told her the activity was normal before leaving for the weekend. Walker was suspicious and looked into the matter further before learning about the $280,000.

Walker gathered information and presented it to the CEO at the time. The following day, Jenkins was fired.

FBI agents raided Jenkins’ Corsicana home, where agents came out with luxury goods, such as furs, cases of wine, and designer luggage. Tow trucks also took a BMW, Denali, Lexus, and Mercedes.

The following Monday, it was discovered that the total amount of embezzled money was believed to be around $4 million — a far cry from the grand total of $16.7 million, which was realized only a week later.

Jenkins was indicted on counts of mail fraud and money laundering in 2013. Less than a year later, his wife Kay was indicted on similar charges.

Their trial revealed their lavish spending, which included traveling over 220 times on private jets costing over $3 million. Jenkins also spent over $11 million on a credit card and $1.2 million at Neiman Marcus in Dallas.

In 2014, Jenkins pled guilty 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. He was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison.

Kay was sentenced to five years of probation and 100 hours of community service after her guilty plea to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

In total, Jenkins embezzled roughly $16.7 million across 900 separate occasions. An estate sale at the Jenkin’s home led to $4 million being returned to the bakery, but the rest has yet to be recovered.

“We were told this was one of the largest embezzlements in the United States,” Crawford shared with DX. “Part of the story as well is that we did learn a lesson. Trust but verify.”

Crawford also dealt with many customer emails that read “almost like hate mail,” in which people would accuse the bakery staff of being “dumb” for letting something like this happen.

He replied to every email explaining the situation to help the customers understand what occurred.

The embezzlement hit Bob McNutt, CEO and president, particularly hard when he told Crawford he had “failed everybody” before resigning.

The idea for a movie came from writer Trey Selman, but first, the bakery staff had to discuss whether they even wanted a movie to be made.

“The decision was, ‘If they tell our side of the story, then people are going to be on our side of this thing, and we’re going to gain some customers,’ so that’s what we’re doing,” Crawford told DX.

Since the original idea for a film germinated, the movie has undergone multiple changes in cast and investors attached to it. After many false starts, filming is finally expected to start in June, with a release planned for the fall.

Crawford said the staff was not getting their hopes up just yet based on what has transpired so far. When the movie is finally completed and released, they expect to see an influx of visitors and orders.

Red Sanders will produce the movie, and Max Winkler is attached to direct.

Collin Street Bakery was also featured on Discovery+ in a 2021 documentary titled Fruitcake Fraud.

The documentary led to a “significant bump in orders” and was “very well received,” Crawford noted. The documentary can be found on Amazon.

Collin Street Bakery has three additional locations, including a second in Corsicana, one in Lindale, and another in Waco.

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