She could only keep quiet for so long.
The scam drew international headlines and made millions of people think twice about ordering a cup of chili from Wendy's. Now the woman at the center of the "chili finger" case is talking about the infamous finger-food crime.
In 2005, Anna Aayala was dining at a San Jose Wendy's restaurant when she claimed she chomped down on a partially-cooked segment of human finger. The fast food chain suffered an estimated $21 million in lost business.
Her husband, Jaime Plascencia, got the severed finger from a co-worker, who lost it in an industrial accident. Both Ayala and Plascencia pleaded guilty. Aayala was sentenced to nine years in prison but was released after four years on good behavior. There's one condition to her release: She's not allowed to step foot back in the place that made her famous.
She's been out of prison for about a year and living in San Jose but until now, she's kept quiet. Plascencia is still serving time for his role in the scam. Aayala is coming clean now. In an exclusive interview with CBS-5 this week, she apologized to the food chain and revealed a deep secret.
"I cooked it," Ayala said of the severed digit. During the interview, she said she prepared the piece of ring finger at her Las Vegas home then drove it to San Jose, where she dropped it into the chili.
Aayala told the reporter other prisoners and even guards ridiculed her and called her names because of the scam that landed her behind bars. "I learned my lesson and I just want to move on with my life."