May 29, 2013: Cedar Rapids Man Sentenced for Posting False Information About a Consumer Product on the Internet
Food and Drug Administration
Office of Criminal Investigations
U.S. Department of Justice Press Release
For Immediate Release
May 29, 2013
United States Attorney
Northern District of Iowa
Contact: Peter Deegan
A man who posted a false statement on Facebook claiming a consumer product was contaminated was sentenced today to five years in federal prison.
Luke A. Truesdell, age 40, from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, received the prison term after a February 8, 2013 guilty plea to one count of communicating false information that a consumer product had been tainted and one count of making a false statement to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
In a plea agreement, Truesdell admitted that, on January 26, 2012, shortly after he was fired from his job in Linn County, Iowa, he called the FDA and made a false statement. Truesdell told the FDA he was a Hepatitis B carrier and then falsely claimed he had bled into batches of an FDA regulated consumer product manufactured by his former employer. Truesdell also admitted that, on January 27, 2012, he posted similar, false information on the Facebook page of one of his former employer's customers.
Truesdell was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Chief Judge Linda R. Reade. Truesdell was sentenced to five years' imprisonment and ordered to make $17,721 in restitution his former employer. He must also serve a three-year term of supervised release after the prison term. There is no parole in the federal system. In announcing the sentence, Judge Reade said, "we all know when you put something on the internet; you are posting it to the world." Judge Reade added that this type of criminal activity "can result in consumer fear and panic."
"This case demonstrates the blatant misuse of social media to intentionally cause financial harm to business entities manufacturing FDA regulated products," said Special Agent in Charge Patrick J. Holland of FDA's Office of Criminal Investigations, Kansas City Field Office. "The FDA will continue to aggressively pursue perpetrators of such acts, and ensure that they are punished to the full extent of the law."
Truesdell is being held in the United States Marshal's custody until he can be transported to a federal prison. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Peter Deegan and was investigated by the United States Food and Drug Administration Office of Criminal Investigations.
Court file information is available at https://ecf.iand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl. The case file number is 12-CR-8 LRR.