1. #1
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    Default Mystery of Wendy's Chili Finger Deepens

    Mystery of Wendy's Chili Finger Deepens
    Friday, April 15, 2005 3:12 PM EDT
    The Associated Press
    By KIM CURTIS

    Somewhere out there is a woman, dead or alive, who is missing a well-manicured finger about 1 1/2 inches long. Authorities know where the finger ended up _ in a bowl of Wendy's chili _ but just who it belongs is a mystery.

    Anna Ayala's claim that she bit down on the finger in a mouthful of her steamy stew on March 22 initially drew sympathy. But when police and health officials failed to find any missing digits among the workers involved in the restaurant's supply chain, suspicion fell on Ayala, and her story has become a late-night punch line.

    "She went back there for lunch today _ she's trying to collect all five," quipped David Letterman.

    Jay Leno joked: "Instead of a spoon, they serve it with nail clippers."

    For executives at Columbus, Ohio-based Wendy's International Inc., it is anything but funny. Sales dropped sharply at franchises in Northern California. The company has hired private investigators to run a hot line for tips, and is offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the finger's original owner.

    "We are more anxious than you are to find out what really happened," Wendy's spokesman Denny Lynch said.

    DNA tests are being done on the finger. A partial fingerprint failed to turn up a match in a national database.

    Tips are coming in from across the country, from "folks who either have lost a finger, or know somebody who lost a finger," said San Jose police Sgt. Nick Muyo.

    "Our goal is to find where that finger came from and who it came from. Is this an industrial accident, is this a homicide? Once you determine that, then we can start working backward."

    Health officials said it is apparently a woman's finger, because of the long, manicured nail. But investigators will not say which finger on the hand it was.

    The most curious turn yet led to a dead end this week. Sandy Allman, whose trailer home in Pahrump, Nev., is a short drive from Ayala's house in Las Vegas, called the hot line to say she had lost part of her index finger on Feb. 23 when a spotted leopard _ one of many exotic animals she had been keeping _ attacked her. Allman said her digit apparently disappeared in the hospital where she was treated.

    However, the sheriff there later cast doubt on the Pahrump connection after learning that Allman had lost a mere fingertip.

    Ayala hired a lawyer and filed a claim against the Wendy's franchise owner, Fresno-based JEM Management. But after police searched her home in Las Vegas and continued to question her family, she dropped the lawsuit threat, saying the whole situation was just too stressful.

    "Lies, lies, lies, that's all I am hearing," Ayala said after police started questioning her. "They should look at Wendy's. What are they hiding? Why are we being victimized again and again?"

    As it turns out, Ayala has a litigious history. She has filed claims against several corporations, including a former employer and General Motors, though it is unclear from court records whether she received any money. She said she got $30,000 from El Pollo Loco after her 13-year-old daughter got sick at one of the chain's Las Vegas-area restaurants. El Pollo Loco officials say she did not get a dime.

    The San Jose Police fraud unit joined Las Vegas police in the search of her home there, and officers have questioned her relatives. A family friend, Ken Bono, 24, said the warrant indicated police were looking for a cooler, a blue bag and "any family documents about anybody dead."

    Ayala's sister Mary, who lives in San Jose but missed the fateful meal at Wendy's, has been outspoken in defense of her sister.

    The police "wanted to know if I ever asked her, even jokingly, `Hey, did you do it?'" Mary Ayala said. "I said, `No, my sister wouldn't do that.'" She added: "It's just a mess right now. Things are out of hand."

    If police do obtain evidence that Ayala planted the finger, she could face charges of fraud, extortion or making false statements, legal experts said.

    Back at the Wendy's where the chili was served, customers seem convinced the tale of the finger was a scam.

    "There's too much in this country today with people trying to get things by conning them out of it. Wendy's has been good for years," said longtime customer 81-year-old Ralph Woodman. "How the hell would you get a finger into the pot without seeing it in there when you're stirring it? It had to be some sort of screwball ruse."


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    Default Re: Mystery of Wendy's Chili Finger Deepens

    Originally posted by backdraft663

    Tips are coming in from across the country
    Finger tips

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    It sounds like the cops think something's fishy, but they can't quite put their finger on it. . .
    ullrichk
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    Hmmmm??? She has sued before, very interesting. Maybe she dropped her lawsuit because she expected a quiet settlement and it didn't happen. Maybe she should get a job and work like the rest of us!!!
    "I have no ambition in this world but one, and that is to be a fireman. The position may, in the eyes of some, appear to be a lowly one; but we know the work which a fireman has to do believe that his is a noble calling."

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    Default oooooo This is gonna hurt.....

    YOU GUYS NEED TO STOP THE FINGER POINTING!
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    Default Nailbiting finale?

    O.K which one of you guy's fingered her?
    Or are you trying to palm me off?
    But then you have to hand it to her, for trying to digitally enhance her fiscal situation.

    O.T.Y fellow punsters.
    "If you thought it was hard getting into the job--wait until you have to hang the "fire gear"up and walk away!"
    Harry Lauder 1981.Me on the left!

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    She's a knucklehead for trying to nail Wendys.

    Even though, the restaurant chain was in a nailbiter there for a while.

    A joint investigation could likely push the index of her sentence to double digits.

    One more hangnail of society clipped off.


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    I wonder what "tipped" them off?
    IACOJ

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    Anyone hear about the finger incident at Arbys? Ill try to look up the story, apparently a worker cut part of his finger off and couldn't find it so he did worry about it, but someone ate it. The worker admitted to it. Ill just find the story to let you take a look. I think my fast food restaurant eating days are numbered!!!!!
    Ryan

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    Exclamation SHE LIED- Big Surprise

    Police: Woman arrested in finger hoax
    Police say she lied about finding a digit in her Wendy's chili



    SAN JOSE, California (CNN) -- Police said Friday that a woman lied about finding a human finger in a bowl of chili last month at a Wendy's restaurant here.

    They said Anna Ayala, 39, was arrested Thursday night at her home in Las Vegas, Nevada, on a charge of attempted grand theft in connection with the episode.

    Ayala was also charged with grand theft in connection with an unrelated incident uncovered during the course of the Wendy's investigation. She is accused of bilking a woman out of $11,000 in a real estate transaction.

    San Jose Police Chief Rob Davis said Ayala will be extradited to California.

    Ayala filed a claim against Wendy's after she reported the finger in her chili, but she dropped it after police investigators obtained a search warrant for her home.

    Police offered few details about what they called the hoax, however, saying the investigation was still in progress.

    One question that remains: Where did the finger come from?

    Police said Friday they are still trying to determine the answer, and investigators have concluded that Wendy's was not to blame.

    "Thus far, our evidence suggests that the truest victims in this case are indeed the Wendy's owner, operators and employees here in San Jose, who have suffered financially throughout this investigation," Davis said.

    Police said the attempted grand theft charge relates to the money that Wendy's lost when business dropped after the episode. The owner of the franchise where the finger was found, Joseph Desmond, called the incident a "nightmare."

    "It's been really tough. When I heard of it, I just didn't believe that it could happen, because we have many, many guards against anything like this happening in our business," he said.

    Desmond said some of the San Jose employees have had their hours cut back because business has been "down badly" since Ayala reported finding the finger March 22.

    He pleaded, "Please come back to Wendy's."

    After Ayala reported finding the finger, Wendy's launched an internal investigation, even checking its workers and employees of suppliers to see if anyone had lost a digit. But the company said it found nothing to explain how the finger got in the chili.

    The company also offered a $50,000 reward, then doubled it to $100,000. Davis noted that the reward is still in place and urged anyone with information about the incident to contact police.

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    Looks like we have some compitition. First Wendys, then Arbys, Now Arbys again!!!

    http://www.wcpo.com/news/2005/local/...dwichskin.html
    Ryan

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    Default Tip Solves Wendy's Finger Case

    SAN JOSE, Calif., May 14, 2005


    It took eight weeks, but investigators finally know where the finger came from that a woman claimed she found in her bowl of Wendy's chili.

    It didn't belong to a dead aunt of Anna Ayala, who made the claim. Nor was the owner a woman who got too friendly with her pet leopard.

    The finger came from a man who lost it in an industrial accident and gave it to the husband of Ayala, who allegedly planted it in a scam to get money.

    "The puzzle pieces are beginning to fall into place, and the truth is being exposed," police Chief Rob Davis said at a news conference Friday.

    Davis said a tip was called in to a hot line established by the Ohio-based fast-food chain, and police found the man in Nevada this week. He said scientific tests confirmed the finger was his.

    Investigators had initially believed the 1˝-inch fragment was a woman's because the nail was well-trimmed.

    Davis would not identify the man or say why they think he gave the finger to Ayala's husband. The nature of the industrial accident was also not disclosed. They said only that the man was an associate of Ayala's husband, a construction worker.

    Authorities said last month that they believed the story was a hoax, and they arrested Ayala at her home in Las Vegas and charged her with attempted grand larceny for allegedly trying to shake down Wendy's.

    Ayala, 39, filed a claim against the restaurant chain shortly afterward, but later withdrew it as she came under scrutiny. Investigators found at least 13 cases in which she has filed claims in her name or her children's.

    During the investigation, Wendy's said no employees at the San Jose restaurant had missing fingers, and no suppliers of Wendy's ingredients had reported any finger injuries. Authorities reported that there was no evidence the finger had been cooked.

    Calls to an attorney for Ayala and Jaime Plascencia, her husband, were not immediately returned. Plascencia is in jail on identity-theft charges unrelated to the Wendy's case.

    Authorities are considering additional charges against the couple, Davis said.

    "We are exploring all other options and avenues available to see that those involved in this charade will be investigated," the police chief said.

    Wendy's has said it has lost millions in sales since Ayala made the claim while visiting her family in San Jose. Dozens of employees at the company's Northern California franchises also have been laid off.

    The franchise where the claim was made saw an immediate 60 percent to 70 percent drop in business, said Stephen Jay, marketing director at JEM Management, which owns the restaurant. Business is still off 20 percent, he said.

    The restaurant chain has offered a $100,000 reward but has not given it out yet, according to company spokesman Bob Bertini. He said officials need to talk with police to determine who should receive it.

    In a statement, the company praised San Jose police and said the latest evidence vindicates its employees.

    "We strongly defended our brand and paid a severe price," said Tom Mueller, Wendy's president of North America. "We are extremely proud of our employees and franchisees who have suffered the most, and we are forever grateful to our many customers who have supported us during this difficult time."

    The Nevada agency that investigates industrial accidents has no record of a worker injury such as the one San Jose police described, said Tom Czehowski, chief administrator of the state Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Nevada employers are only required to report deaths or injuries causing the hospitalization of three or more employees, he said.

    The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health was also checking its records for any workers who reported losing a finger in an industrial accident, spokesman Dean Fryer said.

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    We are all better off not going to fast food joints. It was a lifestyle change I dont regret.

    And if you do got to eat out in uniform.....better off going to a Subway or Quiznos( or likeness). Its healthier and you can watch exactly what they do to your food......
    I dont suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.

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    Yea, I only go to Subway or Milio's. All the other fast food joints are disgusting.
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    I just saw her picture for the first time last night when the local news was airing the video from her arraignment when she was mouthing to the cameras, "I love you all."

    Damn...all that woman needs is a pointy hat and a broom, and she's got a new career.
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    Originally posted by Steamer
    I just saw her picture for the first time last night when the local news was airing the video from her arraignment when she was mouthing to the cameras, "I love you all."

    Damn...all that woman needs is a pointy hat and a broom, and she's got a new career.
    I think a witch would be a good career for her after all she wouldn't make any money as a hooker being as ugly as she is.

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    She's uglier than a "mud fence".
    She's uglier than "home-made soap"
    IAFF

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    I am sure everyone went to Wendys over the weekend to get there FREE Frostys. I know I did. I love free stuff!!!!
    Ryan

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    U.S. prosecutors: Max punishment for couple that put finger in bowl of chili
    17/01/2006 3:57:00 PM


    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 US.
    At most, Ayala faces nine years, eight months in prison for her part in the scam. Plascencia could get up to 13 years in prison on the charges, including failing to pay child support.

    In court documents filed last week, prosecutors urged a judge to sentence both to the maximum. The defence also filed documents last week, but Ayala's lawyer wouldn't provide them and they were unavailable from the court.

    Sentencing is scheduled for Wednesday.

    Ayala claimed to have found the fingertip last March 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.
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    SAN JOSE, California (Reuters) - A couple who planted a human finger in a bowl of chili at a Wendy's fast food restaurant was sentenced in California on Wednesday to nine years in prison.

    ADVERTISEMENT

    "Greed and avarice overtook this couple and they lost their moral compass," Judge Edward Davila said of Anna Ayala and her husband Jaime Plascencia in handing down the nine-year sentence.

    The scam caused a sharp fall in sales at the third-largest U.S. burger chain, resulting in millions of dollars in lost revenue and a lingering impact to this day, officials say.

    Plascencia was given another three years and four months for not paying support for the five children he has with another woman in an unrelated case, giving him a total sentence of 12 years, four months behind bars.

    Davila also ordered the couple to pay almost $22 million in restitution but Wendy's officials indicated to the court they would only seek to collect approximately $170,000, representing the wages lost by employees at the San Jose restaurant where working hours were cut back after a downturn in business.

    "The crimes committed by the defendants have done immeasurable damage to Wendy's image, not only in northern California, but across the country," Denny Lynch, a Wendy's senior vice president, told the court.

    "We cannot put into words how it feels to have the company you've devoted your career to be subjected to grotesque humor on the late night TV talk shows in front of a national viewing audience."

    Investigators determined Plascencia obtained the piece of finger from a co-worker who had lost the top of a digit in an industrial accident at a Las Vegas paving company. The man had turned over the finger fragment to settle a $50 debt.

    Wendy's International, based in Dublin, Ohio, paid a $100,000 reward for information to help establish the source of the severed finger.

    SOBBING APOLOGY

    "I am truly sorry. I owe Wendy's and its employees an apology," a sobbing Ayala told the court. "Wendy's had always been my family's favorite fast food restaurant."

    She called her actions "a moment of poor judgment," and told her family: "For all the shame I brought upon them I am sorry, I am so sorry."

    Ayala, 40, who had been a Las Vegas resident, had said that she discovered the finger after buying the bowl of chili last March. She complained about the experience on national television and hired a lawyer, attracting wide attention to the bizarre incident.

    Ayala's attorney Rick Ehler accused prosecutor David Boyd of using the media attention to get a tough sentence. "It seems as though the prosecution tried to exert some judicial pressure through the media," Ehler said.

    "I am extremely remorseful," said Plascencia, 43, who, like his wife, wore prison clothes to the hearing at which television cameras were permitted.

    Plascencia's attorney Charles Kramer said the probation department's recommendation of 11 years for his client was excessive.

    "I was quite surprised at the harshness of the probation department's recommendation," Kramer said. "Judge Davila going over and above that shocks me even more."

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