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
DECEMBER 17, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
STATE PRISON INMATE SENTENCED
FOR WAL-MART THREAT
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Missouri prison inmate was sentenced in federal court today for threatening to lace Wal-Mart food products with cyanide unless the store paid him $200,000.
Hugh L. Riley, Jr., 35, an inmate at the Jefferson City Correctional Center, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Nanette K. Laughrey this morning to four years and three months in federal prison without parole. Riley’s federal sentence will be served consecutively to his 15-year state prison term.
On June 25, 2008, Riley pleaded guilty to 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 Bannister Road 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 the 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.
This case was prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney M. Alexander Menzel, Jr. It was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department and the Kansas City, Kan., Police Department.
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