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LAWRENCE WOMAN SENTENCED IN PEPSI TAMPERING HOAX

 BOSTON, Nov. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- A Lawrence, Mass., woman, who attracted substantial media attention following her false claim that she found a hypodermic syringe in a can of Pepsi-Cola, was sentenced today in United States District Court.
 United States Attorney A. John Pappalardo announced that Cinia Martinez, 54, of 32 Jackson St., Apt. 4, Lawrence, Mass., was sentenced to 24 months probation today by United States District Judge Rya W. Zobel. Martinez had previously pleaded guilty to a felony charge of providing false information to a Food and Drug Administration investigator by claiming that a consumer product had been tainted. At that hearing, the Assistant United States Attorney stated that on June 15, 1993, Martinez purchased a can of Pepsi-Cola from a store in Lawrence. She took the can to North Common Park in Lawrence, where she found a discarded needle and syringe. She placed the needle and syringe in the can, and brought it back to her apartment.
 Martinez subsequently claimed that she discovered the foreign objects inside the can while taking a drink. She claimed that the discovery made her ill, and caused her to experience chest pains, and sought emergency medical treatment. She repeated her phony story about the discovery of the needle and syringe to a large number of people, including many newspaper and television reporters.
 Food and Drug Administration investigators interviewed Martinez. The investigators informed her that providing false information about product tampering was a crime. Nonetheless, Martinez provided them with a sworn affidavit detailing her claim. Further investigation revealed that the physical evidence was inconsistent with her story. For example, the syringe was manufactured in Puerto Rico while the can was filled in Ayer, Mass. Moreover, records demonstrated that the syringe was manufactured after the can was filled. When confronted with the inconsistencies, Martinez confessed.
 The case represents the first New England prosecution of an individual in connection with the nationwide Pepsi-Cola tampering scandal.
 The case was investigated by Special Agents of the Food and Drug Administration's Office of Criminal Investigations and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mark W. Pearlstein of Pappalardo's Economic Crimes Unit.
 -0- 11/3/93
 /CONTACT: Press Officer of the U.S. Attorney's Office, 617-223-9445/


CO: U.S. Attorney's Office; Pepsi-Cola ST: Massachusetts IN: FOD SU:

DJ -- NE007 -- 0252 11/03/93 15:26 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 3, 1993
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