Mother's Day Mouse-in-Soup Scam Earns Woman Year in Jail

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A woman who tried to extort money from a restaurant chain by putting a dead mouse in a bowl of soup was sentenced to a year in jail.

Carla Patterson, 38, and her 22-year-old son, Ricky Patterson, sought $500,000 from the Cracker Barrel chain after claiming they found the rodent in the vegetable soup the woman ordered at a Newport News restaurant on Mother's Day weekend in 2004.

A jury convicted the Pattersons of conspiracy to commit extortion in April. The Pattersons maintained their innocence, but evidence included tests showed the mouse had not been cooked and had not drowned, but instead died of a fractured skull.

Carla Patterson wept Wednesday as a judge imposed the jail sentence and a $2,500 fine. Defense lawyer Michael Woods said Patterson plans to appeal.

Ricky Patterson's sentencing, which had been scheduled for Wednesday, was postponed until Sept. 14. He is at Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail in Williamsburg after pleading guilty to forgery in an unrelated check-fraud case.