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Extradition waived in chili case

Woman who said she found finger will go to Calif.

LAS VEGAS -- The woman who was arrested after claiming that she bit into a human finger in a bowl of Wendy's chili waived extradition yesterday, telling a judge she was eager to return to California to face charges.

Anna Ayala, 39, appeared before the same judge who issued a warrant for police to search her home outside Las Vegas on April 6. Records from that raid are sealed.

Outside court, Ayala's lawyer, Frederick Tait Ehler of San Jose, derided the charges against his client as baseless.

''Anna says they're ridiculous," Ehler said of the charges of attempted grand larceny. ''She's eager to go back to San Jose."

Ayala was arrested late Thursday. San Jose police said Friday that her claim was a hoax.

Authorities said the charge of attempted grand theft relates to the millions in dollars in financial losses Wendy's has suffered since news broke of her claim.

Ayala maintains she bit down on a 1.5-inch-long finger fragment while dining March 22 with her family at a Wendy's in San Jose. She has rebutted allegations that she put the digit in her bowl.

She hired a lawyer and filed a claim against the franchise owner, but dropped the legal fight shortly after police searched her home.

Ayala faces a maximum of seven years in prison if convicted of the larceny charges and at least another 16 months if convicted of unrelated charges that she allegedly bilked a woman of $11,000 over a soured real estate deal two years ago.

Ayala has been involved in nearly a dozen legal battles, including lawsuits against an employer for sexual harassment, an auto dealer over a car, and a different fast-food chain for food poisoning.

Authorities have not yet identified to whom the finger belonged or Ayala's alleged connection to it.

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