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Last Updated: Saturday, 10 September 2005, 07:32 GMT 08:32 UK
'Chilli finger' pair plead guilty
Anna Ayala leaves a San Jose, California courtroom after pleading guilty
Ayala faces up to nine years in jail over the chilli finger scam
A couple charged with planting a human finger in a bowl of chilli in the hope of gaining compensation from Wendy's fast food chain have pleaded guilty.

Anna Ayala, 39, faces up to nine years in jail while her husband Jaime Placencia, 43, could get 13 years.

Ms Ayala's claim is said to have cost the third-largest US burger chain $2.5m (1.3m) in lost sales.

The woman had claimed she had bitten into the finger at a Wendy's restaurant in San Jose, California, in March.

Investigators later found the finger belonged to construction worker Brian Rossiter, who had lost it in an industrial accident and sold it to Mr Placencia for $100.

Ms Ayala initially claimed she had bitten down on the finger which she described as "kind of hard, crunchy".

She said the incident had caused her "great emotional distress".

She has since withdrawn her lawsuit against Wendy's.

The fast food chain has insisted all along that the finger did not originate at one of its establishments as no staff had lost a digit and no suppliers had reported any accidents involving hands.

It says it has had to sack employees because of the loss in sales.

The couple have been in police custody since their arrest earlier this year.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
How the finger of suspicion led police to Anna Ayala




SEE ALSO:
US arrest over chilli finger case
22 Apr 05 |  Americas
Severed finger found in ice cream
06 May 05 |  Americas


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