Skip to comments.CA: Prosecutors ask for maximum sentences for (Wendy's) chili finger couple (Sentencing Wednesday)
Posted on 01/17/2006 4:04:25 PM PST by NormsRevenge
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Prosecutors are asking a judge to impose maximum prison sentences for the couple who masterminded the plot to plant a human fingertip in a bowl of Wendy's chili, calling the pair "grifters" who demonstrated "a total selfishness and perceived entitlement to other people's money."
Jaime Plascencia, 44, and Anna Ayala, 40, pleaded guilty on Sept. 9 to two felony charges arising from the chili-finger scam: conspiracy to file a false insurance claim and attempted grand theft with damages exceeding $2.5 million.
At most, Ayala faces nine years, eight months in prison for her part in the scam, among other charges. Plascencia could get 13 years in prison on the charges, including failing to pay child support.
In court documents filed last week, prosecutors urged a Santa Clara County Superior Court judge to sentence both to the maximum. The defense also filed documents last week, but Ayala's lawyer wouldn't provide them and they were unavailable from the court.
"It seems as though the district attorney's office is seeking to effect a judicial result through media pressure," defense lawyer Frederick Ehler said in a statement Tuesday. "The defense prefers to trust in the integrity of the process and to let the process run its course through the court."
Sentencing is scheduled for Wednesday.
Ayala claimed to have found the fingertip March 22 while dining with her family at a Wendy's in San Jose. Authorities said they believed it was a hoax, but the story quickly spread through headlines around the world and served as punch lines for comedians.
A search for the finger's owner eventually led to one of Placencia's co-workers, who lost it in an industrial accident, police said. Plascencia bought the fingertip from Brian Rossiter for $100 and told him what he and Ayala were planning, according to court documents. Rossiter later told police the couple offered him $250,000 to keep quiet, the prosecution filing said.
On May 13, San Jose Police Chief Rob Davis held a news conference and announced police had learned the source of the finger. Hours later, Ayala called her sister from jail and seemed convinced her son, who's now 18, had led police to Rossiter, according to court documents. She told her sister to sell the house where the boy was living and do it quietly.
"If he's going to be like that, then he's not my son," Ayala told her sister in Spanish. Prosecutors said the boy "remained faithful to his mother" and never told police what he knew about the crimes.
Prosecutor David Boyd, calling Ayala the "public face of this crime," said she presented a version of herself that is in "direct contrast to the apology that will be heard on Wednesday."
During Ayala's recorded telephone call from jail, Ayala also seems to enjoy her notoriety by bragging about how other inmates were asking for her autograph.
"The defendants' crimes here demonstrate an organized, manipulative and deceitful attempt to extort money for their own benefit without regard to the individual and collective harm," prosecutors wrote. "(Their) repeated criminal conduct demonstrates a total selfishness and perceived entitlement to other people's money. ... They are grifters."
Max would be a little unfair.
We have way too many rapist and murderers walking around, who did half that time.
It was annoying and aggravating what she tried to pull, but it is cruel to make an example out of her.
Let's hope the judge doesn't just shake his finger at them.
I disagree. The amount of damage caused by this is staggering both financially to Wendy's but through the loss of jobs and security for the workers.
Wendy's can sue this couple for intentional torts--fraud, etc. I hope they do--
Ayala is proud of what she did. She deserves every minute she spends behind bars. Wendys lost millions because of her greed and deceit. This isn't the first time she tried to pull this crap.
Disagree. I'm sick of idiots like these. Send them up the river for many years of hard time.
What about the hard-core violent criminals who haven't done 13 years?
Shouldn't we keep crimes in perspective?
Max don't mean max because nobody serves max, that's how the crazy system works.
I'm guessing you're on medication right now and not responsible for your statements.
Making an example of her is precisely what we need to do, unless you favor frivolous lawsuits, extortion, grabbing national attention, damaging corporations, etc.
I wonder why the large disparity in sentences?
I bet you were one of those who wanted to set Martha Stewart Free.
What she did, hurts millions, and hurts economy, and faith in free markets.
She served few months in blue-collar prison.
This stupid woman tried to scam Wendys and yes frivolous lawsuits hurt people, but her crime is is NO WAY worse than Martha's.
She has no one to speak up for her because she is poor and is not a celebrity.
She is not accused of rape or murder, so the comparison is useless.
I wonder why the lawyer who filed for her/them is not indicted?
I can't agree with you. In this case, the max is more than justified because of the loss of millions to Wendy's and the loss of many many jobs suffered by innocent people who worked for them.
If I properly understand your question, then I refer you to the Sixth Amendment.
Well, it looked good on paper...
Great reply. I totally agree with your logic. Their crime caused a lot of damaged to honest folk. Screw'em - give them the max - then forget them.
Agree 100%. The amount of economic damage to Wendy's (millions of $ in lost business) plus layoffs for employees, etc. is worse than some of the corporate criminals. Plus, abuse of the judicial system is not something we should take lightly (Clinton perjury notwithstanding).
These people wanted the spotlight, now they will get it. Can't think of a much better deterrent to the next idiot that thinks this is a good path to easy money.
Wuss. Put the rapists in for life (I believe in protecting women, not treating them as objects like the barbarian Moooooslims do) and the murderers on death row--in Texas, where we do what we say we're going to do. And max out these reprobates for all the harm they've done to many people.
Yeah! Show your toughness on this woman!
"I'm sick of idiots like these. Send them up the river for many years of hard time."
Tell that to a lot of good folks who watched their hours get cut--or lost their jobs--when sales plummeted as a result of this scam. All of us here would love to see violent criminals facing actual sentences. Doesn't mean this couple should get a free pass--it just means we have a lot of problems on the bench and parole boards.
So we should adjust our legal system to accomodate the poor and non-celebrity. I couldn't agree more. We need to use Martha Stewart as the benchmark. All the judge would have to do is think, "Hm... was this worse or better than what Martha Stewart did?" This would easily clear the backlogs of the judicial system and our society would resemble the Smurf Village.
I have an idea. Why don't you speak up for her? Y'know, help the downtrodden poor, getting the shaft from the system because she ain't Martha Stewart.
We can all laugh along the next time, when she finds a severed leg in her cereal box or a disembodied head in a gallon of milk.
In 1998, Ayala brought a lawsuit against her employer, San Jose-based La Oferta Review Newspaper Inc. for sexual harassment. The case was settled at an arbitration hearing in June 2002.
In 2000, she lost a suit against a San Jose car dealership, General Motors Corp., and Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, claiming that a wheel fell off her car; the suit was dismissed "with prejudice" (meaning it cannot be refiled) after she fired her attorney and failed to show up in court or submit paperwork.
In 2004, Ayala claimed she had won a suit against fast-food restaurant chain El Pollo Loco in which she was awarded US$ 30,000 in damages for medical expenses after her daughter Genesis contracted Salmonella poisoning from eating at one of their Las Vegas-area restaurants. In mid-April 2004, El Pollo Loco spokeswoman Julie Weeks disputed this, saying that the company reviewed her claim and paid her nothing. 
There's no such thing as hard time any more. I agree they need to pay for what they did and so does everybody else that did wrong!
She should get the max.
Stop making excuses for the poor Grifter - she caused plenty of damage.
As far as "she has no one to speak up for her" - that is rich - she had fine access to lawyering when she knew she was pursueing a hoax for her profit with no regard to consequences.
I think they should attach her wages for life to repay the damage she caused.
It never got to the point where they actually filed a lawsuit against Wendy's.
Either they were unmasked so quickly that they didn't have time, or they were just making a lot of noise in hopes that Wendy's would quickly write them a check without going to court.
Martha was never convicted of inside trading. She lied to a damn investigator, is all.
just like Clinton - lied to an investigator.
BTW< for those who are curious, the woman got 9 years, the husband got 12, plus an order to pay thousands in restitution. no doubt will become a welfare mom when she gets out of prison.