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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Inspections, Compliance, Enforcement, and Criminal Investigations

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October 14, 2011: Rhode Island Man Indicted for Selling Mislabeled Maple Syrup


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Food and Drug Administration 
Office of Criminal Investigations




             U.S. Department of Justice Press Release



For Immediate Release
October 14, 2011

United States Attorney

District of Vermont


            The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont stated that Bernard Coleman, 49, of West Warwick, Rhode Island, was indicted on September 29, 2011, by a Federal grand jury sitting in Burlington, Vermont, on charges that he sold mislabeled maple syrup. 


            According to court documents, from at least 2008 until approximately June 2010, Coleman shipped and sold through interstate commerce what he advertised was pure maple syrup.  In reality, the substance identified as maple syrup was actually made using cane sugar.


            If convicted, Coleman faces a maximum term of three (3) years imprisonment, a term of supervised release of up to one (1) year, and a fine of up to $10,000.  The actual sentence in the event of conviction would be determined by the court with reference to the advisory federal sentencing guidelines.  United States Attorney Tristram J. Coffin stated that the indictment is an accusation only and that Coleman is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.


            United States Attorney Coffin commended the efforts of the FDA, Office of Criminal Investigations, in conducting the investigation of Coleman.


            The prosecution of Coleman is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Barbara Masterson.  Coleman is represented by Natasha Sen of the Federal Public Defender’s Office.