OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY
WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
JOHN F. WOOD
Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106
JUNE 25, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
STATE PRISON INMATE PLEADS GUILTY
TO WAL-MART THREAT
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Missouri prison inmate pleaded guilty in federal court today to threatening to lace Wal-Mart food products with cyanide unless the store paid him $200,000.
Hugh L. Riley, Jr., 34, an inmate at the Jefferson City Correctional Center, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge John T. Maughmer to a federal information that charges him with mailing a threatening communication.
Riley admitted that he mailed a letter to the Wal-Mart store on Bannister Road in Kansas City, Mo. In the handwritten letter, which was signed “The Invisible Businessman,” Riley claimed he had enough cyanide to contaminate all of the Wal-Mart’s food products. The letter demanded $200,000 and gave instructions about the denominations of unmarked bills, the type of bag into which the money was to be placed, and the time and place for the money to be dropped.
According to today’s plea agreement, a fingerprint on the letter led investigators to Riley, who was confined in administrative segregation (in a cell by himself for 23 hours a day, with no contact with other inmates) at the time the letter was written while serving a state prison term for assault and armed criminal action.
Under federal statutes, Riley could be subject to a sentence of five years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney M. Alexander Menzel, Jr. It was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at