Man Accused of False Statements Regarding Food Contamination
By Trish Mehaffey, Reporter
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - A 39-year-old Cedar Rapids man is charged with falsely stating that his former employer had a food product contaminated with a Hepatitis B carrier.
Luke A. Truesdell is charged with four counts of communicating false information that a consumer product was tainted and three counts of making false statements, according to an indictment unsealed Tuesday in U.S. District Court.
Truesdell was previously charged with this crime but the charges were dismissed without prejudice in August by the government because of Truedell's mental health issues.
Truesdell initially agreed to be charged by information, instead of indictment, and accepted a plea agreement but then told a judge he didn't understand and didn't want to make a plea. Two weeks later he was admitted to a hospital with a serious mental health diagnosis.
According to the indictment, Truesdell is accused of falsely telling U.S. Food and Drug Administration personnel that a Hepatitis B carrier had bled into batches of a product manufactured and distributed by Truesdell’s former employer in Linn County, between between Jan. 26 and Feb. 8. Truesdell is also accused of making the same false claim in a Jan. 27, Facebook posting.
The indictment doesn't identify his former employer or the consumer product.
If convicted on all charges, Trusdell faces up to 35 years in prison and $1.7 million fine.
His trial is set Nov. 26.
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