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.
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