A man admitted that he tampered with his children's soup in an attempt to get money from Campbell Soup Co., a prosecutor said.

William Allen Cunningham's 3-year-old son and 18-month-old daughter were hospitalized twice in January 2006. He forced them first to eat soup laced with hot peppers and lighter fluid, and the second time used the prescription drugs Prozac and Amitriptyline — both used to treat depression — to poison the children, authorities said.

Cunningham, 41, pleaded guilty Tuesday to communicating false claims, U.S. Attorney David Nahmias said. Under terms of a plea agreement, he faces up to five years in federal prison when he is sentenced April 19.

"He admitted that he put potentially life-threatening foreign substances into soup, which he fed to his two young children and then placed a call to Campbell Soup Co. falsely claiming that the soup had been contaminated," Nahmias said.

According to prosecutors, Cunningham called Campbell and threatened to sue. Authorities say there was no evidence the soup was tainted when it was bought.