Paul Evan Seelig, the owner of Great Specialty Bread Co. in Durham, North Carolina, was sentenced to up to eleven years in prison today. Seelig, 48, was convicted of 23 counts of fraud after investigations found he lied to customers by claiming his products were gluten-free. Though Seelig admitted to his false gluten-free labeling on the stand, he blamed the bread manufacturers for supplying gluten-containing bread at the North Carolina State Fair and flea market.
Out of the 23 of Seelig's customers who testified at the trial was a pregnant woman who claimed that her severe Celiac disease caused a deterioration of her stomach lining, and therefore a lack of nutrients accessible to her unborn child, ultimately leading to premature delivery.
Superior Court Judge Carl Fox was unsympathetic to Seelig's apologies to customers and jurors, and stated, "In this court's mind, for you to have done what you did to these folks, you might as well have stabbed them. You might as well have beaten them."
Seelig will serve a minimum of nine years behind bars.
See footage of the trial from WRAL:
What do you think? In the wake of a similarly startling admission from a chef who boasted lying to his gluten free diners, do you find the court's ruling fair? Photo by OpenCage