GREENEVILLE, Tenn. (CN) – A 52-year-old woman was given eight months in prison for falsely accusing a relative of putting rat poison in bottled juice.
Elizabeth Carrier of Johnson City, Tenn., pleaded guilty in July to falsely communicating reports of consumer product tampering.
She called Pepsico Products consumer hotline in June 2013 “claiming that an individual related to her by marriage had inserted rat poison in bottled juice drinks manufactured and distributed by Tropicana and Quaker Foods,” according to a U.S. Department of Justice release.
She was prosecuted under a law that was passed following Tylenol poisoning deaths in Chicago in 1982. The law provides for imprisonment up to five years for lying about the tampering or tainting of consumer products
After Carrier is released from jail, she will be put on probation for three years, serve 150 hours of community service, and pay a $100 fine to the federal government.
Eastern Tennessee U.S. Attorney William Killian said lying about product tampering is a serious federal offense.
“Understandably, Congress became concerned about the intentional tainting of consumer products and false reports of consumer product tampering. Such actions significantly disrupt interstate commerce, threaten public health, undermine public confidence in the safety of our food and drug supplies, and waste private and public resources investigating false reports,” Killian said. “Individuals who knowingly make false reports of consumer product tampering should be aware that they are subject to federal prosecution.”
Carrier was investigated by the FDA’s criminal investigations unit with help from the Sullivan and Carter County Sheriff’s offices and the Tennessee State Board of Probation and Parole. Her sentence was handed down Monday by U.S. District Judge J. Ronnie Greer.
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