HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — More than two dozen employees are accusing Delia’s Tamales of implementing a fraud scheme, a lawsuit states.

The lawsuit, which was originally filed in Hidalgo County 464th district court, has now been assigned to federal court in McAllen.

The lawsuit cites 26 plaintiffs claiming to have worked for Delia’s Tamales from November 2000 through May 2023.

The plaintiffs allege that Delgar Foods, also known as Delia’s Tamales, created a scheme that helped them get fake social security numbers so they could work there.

The lawsuit accuses the restaurant, which has five locations in the Rio Grande Valley and one in San Antonio, of illegal paycheck reductions.

“[Delia’s Tamales] would then deduct plaintiffs social security deductions, knowing that their social security cards were fake,” the document states.

When Society Security would try to match the numbers to the employees, they would not match and by law would be sent back to Delia’s Tamales, the lawsuit alleged.

The plaintiff’s state that Delia’s Tamales would let go of employees the closer they were to retiring, with this scheme in place.

The lawsuit also alleges that the former employees were threatened and intimidated.

“Upon being terminated by the Human Resource Clerk, Balance E. Sierra and Delgar Foods
Attorney Stephen Quezada both stated to Plaintiffs that if they appealed their termination, they
would call Immigration and ICE on Plaintiffs,” the lawsuit stated.

Delgar Foods responded to the original petition, denying the claims.

“Delia’s Tamales denies that Plaintiffs are entitled to any relief whatsoever under the allegations set forth in the Petition,” the response stated.

An initial hearing has been scheduled for December.