updated 5/5/2005 2:24:21 PM ET 2005-05-05T18:24:21

The husband of the woman accused of making up a story about finding a finger in a bowl of fast-food chili was arrested near Las Vegas on unrelated charges, including one charge of identity theft, San Jose police said.

Jaime Placencia, 43, was arrested Wednesday on a fugitive warrant at the Las Vegas-area home he shares with Anna Ayala, who is in a Nevada jail awaiting extradition to San Jose on attempted grand larceny and grand larceny charges. Police believe her claim of finding a finger in a bowl of chili at a Wendy's in San Jose on March 22 was a hoax.

"This is her husband but it has nothing to do with that incident," San Jose police spokesman Enrique Garcia said. "That's still an open investigation we're working on. All of these things are separate from that case."

Placencia faces one charge of identity theft, four charges of failure to pay child support and child abandonment, and one count of fraudulent use of official documents, Garcia said.

"He utilized his children's personal information in a fraudulent manner for personal gain," Garcia said. "His actions could have a future financial or credit impact on his children."

Placencia, who does not having any children with Ayala, was being held without bail. An extradition hearing was scheduled for Monday in Las Vegas.

Ayala's family has vowed to sue San Jose police for false arrest and prosecution.

"They (police) are just making themselves look like idiots, and this is going to make the lawsuit a lot bigger," Ayala's 18-year-old son, Guadalupe Reyes, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

Ayala maintains she bit down on a 1 1/2 inch-long finger fragment while dining March 22 with her family at a Wendy's restaurant in San Jose. She has denied placing the well-manicured finger tip in her bowl.

Investigators have said they don't know where the finger came from, and Dublin, Ohio-based Wendy's has offered $100,000 for information on where the digit originated.

The company maintains that the finger did not enter the food chain in its ingredients. Employees at the San Jose franchise were found to have all their fingers, and no suppliers of Wendy's ingredients reported any hand or finger injuries, the company said.

Ayala, who has maintained her innocence, faces a maximum seven-year sentence if convicted of the finger charges, and at least 16 months more if convicted of an unrelated grand larceny charge that she allegedly bilked a woman of $11,000 in a soured deal over a mobile home two years ago.

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