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Entrepreneurial Woman Fined $700 For Selling Illegal Tamales

A GoFundMe account raised more than $4,000 to help pay the city

homemade tamales
Who knew homemade tamales were so controversial?
Rick Stuart/Flickr

If you live in DFW, you likely know someone whose aunt or grandma makes extra cash on the side by selling tamales. What you probably didn’t know, though, that this delicious side hustle can be totally illegal.

According to CBS DFW, Dennise Cruz was served with a warrant arrest notice by the City of Carrollton for selling her homemade tamales without a permit. Cruz advertised her services via neighborhood social networking site NextDoor, and was reported to the city’s health department, which resulted in a $617 fine, $700 if she wanted to fight it in court.

According to the city, tamales are at high-risk for food borne illness because of the cooked meat tucked inside the masa. "It’s just so common. That’s why to me, I don’t understand why it’s such a big deal," Cruz told CBS. "When it hit me, I was like that is a lot of money."

A friend of Cruz’s set up a GoFundMe account to help her pay the fines, and the donations quickly poured in. At press time, Cruz had raised more than $4,000, well more than she needed to fight the power.

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