Couple sentenced in Wendy's finger fraud

Jan. 18, 2006 at 6:21 PM
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SAN JOSE, Calif., Jan. 18 (UPI) -- A man and woman convicted of trying to defraud Wendy's restaurant chain by planting a finger in a bowl of chili received lengthy prison sentences Wednesday.

Santa Clara County Judge Edward Davila sentenced Anna Ayala to nine years and ordered her husband, Jaime Plascencia, to serve 12 years, four months, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

Ayala, 39, placed the tip of a finger into her chili and made a scene at a Wendy's restaurant in San Jose in March 2005. Investigators determined the source of the fingertip was a co-worker of Plascencia, 43, who had lost it in a workplace accident and sold it to Plascencia.

Ayala and Plascencia pleaded guilty in September to conspiracy to file a false insurance claim and attempted grand theft with damages exceeding $2.5 million.

They were ordered to pay Wendy's more than $21 million for lost business resulting from negative publicity, and to pay Wendy's employees $170,000 in lost wages. Wendy's officials said they would not try to collect the money, the newspaper said.

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