For six years, a building supervisor in Spain quietly collected a $41,500 salary from his local government without showing up for work.
And he would have gotten away with it too if it wasn’t for him getting an award for his 20 years of loyal service.
Joaquín García, 69, was recently fined $30,000 for the extended paid vacation from a water treatment plant in Cádiz -- the maximum penalty government officials could deliver, the BBC reported.
According to deputy mayor Jorge Blas, it wasn’t until Garcia was due to be recognized for his hard work in 2010 that authorities realized his office was sitting vacant.
"I wondered whether he was still working there, had he retired, had he died? But the payroll showed he was still receiving a salary," Blas told Spanish newspaper El Mundo, according to The Local.
“I called him up and asked him, ‘What did you do yesterday? The month before, the month before that?’ He didn’t know what to say,” Blas said.
Garcia's water company coworkers thought the plant was being overseen by local authorities because they hadn't seen Garcia in so long.
Garcia’s attorney, speaking on his behalf, reportedly blamed bullying at his workplace for his absence. He also said there was no work to do.
People close to Garcia told El Mundo that he dedicated himself to reading philosophy instead and that he did not report the bullying out of fear that he could be fired.
Garcia retired after the allegations came to light, though he denies wrongdoing.
In the end, a court sided with the government, recently ordering him to pay the five-digit fine.
Garcia has since petitioned to the deputy mayor not to pay the fine and to have the judgment reviewed, The Local reported.
Also on HuffPost:
How to vote
Vote-by-mail ballot request deadline: Varies by state
For the Nov 3 election: States are making it easier for citizens to vote absentee by mail this year due to the coronavirus. Each state has its own rules for mail-in absentee voting. Visit your state election office website to find out if you can vote by mail.Get more information
In-person early voting dates: Varies by state
Sometimes circumstances make it hard or impossible for you to vote on Election Day. But your state may let you vote during a designated early voting period. You don't need an excuse to vote early. Visit your state election office website to find out whether they offer early voting.My Election Office
General Election: Nov 3, 2020
Polling hours on Election Day: Varies by state/localityMy Polling Place