A woman from California is facing two years of jail time after she used Facebook as a platform to sell homemade food.
Mariza Ruelas, a single mother of six, will appear in court on Thursday for engaging in business without a permit. She sold a plate of ceviche for $12 to an undercover investigator on the social media website. She has now been charged with misdemeanor.
“It’s just crazy because people have been selling out their trunks and out of parking lots for years. I never knew it would be a problem,” the 37-year-old told Time magazine.
Around two years ago, Ruelas jouned a Facebook group called 209 Food Spot in search of a birthday cake for her child. However, though her purpose was not met, she ended up becoming admin for the page over the course of time. It became a virtual meeting place for amateur chefs to organize potlucks, share recipes and trade dishes for lower than market prices. But apparently, there was an issue about health and safety since there was no permit to sell.
“There were times when I didn’t have time to cook. You could go on there and pick something up or have it delivered on the same day. It was just convenient for a lot of people. Everybody loves food. There was that connection with anyone,” Ruelas said.
Unfortunately, within a few months, Ruelas and around six other people from the group were ordered to appear in court over health code violations. She took the letters as a warning sign and shut down the group. However, things didn’t end there.
While the other members agreed to undertaking a year of probation, 40 hours of community service and paying a fine of $235, Ruelas turned down the offer, which was apparently double of what the others were undergoing.
“If this was happening to someone else and not me, I would laugh. It’s just crazy,” the woman said.
She is now ready to serve her time in jail. She has instructed her children to take care of one another along with her ailing mother, who suffers diabetes and requires dialysis thrice weekly.