Cedar Rapids man accused of making false statements about food contamination

Same charge had been dismissed previously because of suspect's mental health issues

A 39-year-old Cedar Rapids man is charged with falsely telling his former employer a Hepatitis B carrier had contaminated a food product.

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 the same crime, but the charges were dismissed without prejudice in August by the government because of Truesdell'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, Truesdell faces up to 35 years in prison and $1.7 million fine.

His trial is set Nov. 26.

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