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Owner of Finger Found in Chili to Finger Couple

Special to The Times

The man whose severed finger showed up in a bowl of Wendy’s chili will testify that a Las Vegas man admitted to him that it was planted as part of a scheme to exact payment from the restaurant chain, a lawyer said Thursday.

Brian Paul Rossiter, 36, of Las Vegas will testify that he heard of the scheme from a co-worker and friend, Jaime Plascencia.

Plascencia, 43, and his wife, Anna Ayala, 39, are in jail awaiting trial on charges of conspiracy and fraud, which carry a maximum punishment of nearly 10 years in prison.

Rossiter’s lawyer, Ivan Golde of Oakland, disclosed Thursday that his client will testify for the prosecution.

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The case bewildered police and Wendy’s for more than two months before DNA tests showed that the finger was Rossiter’s.

He had lost it in an industrial accident.

Rossiter had owed Plascencia $50, but Plascencia agreed to cancel the debt in exchange for the finger, Golde said. In addition to forgiving the debt, Plascencia paid Rossiter, who knew nothing of the scheme, $50 for the digit, the attorney said.

The investigation began March 22 when Ayala told police that she found a fingertip, about 1 1/2 inches long, in her chili bowl while eating at a Wendy’s here.

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Wendy’s has estimated that the resulting bad publicity cost the chain more than $1 million a day, prosecutors said. When Rossiter saw heavy media coverage of the case, he confronted Plascencia, Golde said.

“He said, ‘What’s going on? What on earth is happening? What are you doing?’ ” Golde said.

“He [Plascencia] basically confesses,” Golde said. “He said, ‘My wife is good at this kind of thing. She sues people.’ ”


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