Colorado Man Charged With Product Tampering in Connection With “Finding” Syringe in Bag of Potato Chips

DENVER (LAWFUEL) – Jacob John Polick, age 35, of Thornton, Colorado, was arraigned yesterday in U.S. District Court in Denver on charges of tampering with a consumer product and making false statements for reportedly finding a syringe in a bag of chips, United States Attorney Troy A. Eid and FDA Office of Criminal Investigations Special Agent in Charge Stephen M. Holt announced today. Polick is free on a $5,000 unsecured appearance bond.

Jacob John Polick was indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on September 9, 2008. He was arrested on September 12, 2008. On that day Polick made his initial appearance, where he was advised of the charges pending against him. He was arraigned on September 17, 2008. The case has been assigned to Chief U.S. District Court Judge Edward W. Nottingham. Chief Judge Nottingham has scheduled a tentative trial date of November 17, 2008 at 9:00 a.m.

According to the indictment, on January 2, 2008, Polick communicated false information that a consumer product was tainted. Specifically, Polick reported that a bag of Frito-Lay Ruffles brand Potato Chips he purchased at a Safeway in Thornton contained a syringe, which, had it occurred, would have created a risk of bodily injury to another person. Further, the indictment alleges that Polick made a false statement to a Special Agent of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that he found a syringe in the bag of chips that he had purchased, when he knew that the bag of potato chips did not contain a syringe.

“There are better, safer and – above all – legal ways to make money than what the defendant allegedly did here,” said U.S. Attorney Troy Eid.

“The Office of Criminal Investigations takes food safety seriously and will use all the resources at its disposal to ensure that those who make false claims about tampered food products will be held accountable,” said Stephen M. Holt, Special Agent in Charge, Kansas City Field Office, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations.

Count one, tampering with a consumer product, is punishable by not more than 5 years in federal prison, and up to a $250,000 fine. Count two, false statements, is punishable by not more than 20 years imprisonment, and up to a $250,000 fine.

This case was investigated by the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations (FDA OCI).

Polick is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jaime Pena.

The charges are only allegations, and the defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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