Monday, June 7, 2010

Update: Fraudulent Gluten Free Baker Criminal Case

Earlier today, Paul Seelig had his latest court hearing before Wake County Superior Court in the ongoing criminal case of fraudulently selling Gluten containing bread as Gluten Free.  You can read all the history on this case here.  A quick recap; Durham resident Paul Seelig started a company called Great Specialty Products which sold repackaged regular wheat bread as Gluten Free to dozens of GF consumers in the Triangle.  After numerous complaints, he was investigated by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture which shut his business down and brought 9 felony charges of Obtaining Property by False Pretenses.  Testing done by the NCDA found the bread contained > 5,000 PPM Gluten.  A Wake County Grand Jury indicted Seelig on those charges in early April.

It was believed that Seelig would take a plea offered which reduced the 9 felonies to 6 and would halt the bringing of 22 additional felonies against him.  He would also not be ordered to pay restitution to the defendants.  In a shocking development, Seelig in fact turned down the deal and instead pleaded Not Guilty to those 9 counts.  We had been waiting since early May for Seelig to put his affairs together in preparation for pleading guilty but this was apparently just more stalling.

Wake County Assistant District Attorney Jason Waller then asked Judge Donald W. Stephens to arraign Seelig on those 9 felony counts.  Judge Stephens encouraged Waller to get to the Grand Jury quickly and then said "Try It... Try It... Try It".  Strong and condemning words from the Wake County Superior Judge indicating this case is going to a trial.  Seelig was immediately placed in the custody of the sheriff deputies and given a $750,000 secured bond.  At this time, Seelig is currently in the Wake County jail awaiting trial.  I guess when you are this crazy, 31 felony counts are better somehow than 6.  Who knows.

Over the next few weeks, the DA will head back to a Grand Jury to indict Seelig on the additional 22 felony counts.  In another shocking development, Waller informed the court that Seelig had offered to supply information about a suspect in an ongoing homicide investigation in exchange for getting his current charges dropped or reduced.  Seelig then turned in a completely innocent man as the suspect in the homicide.  You may have heard of this case - State School Board Member Kathy Taft - who was killed in Raleigh in March.  Of course, another suspect has been arresting in that case.

At this point, nothing should really surprise you about Seelig.  His past, including several federal and state convictions (wire fraud, forfeiture and grand theft property), along with his more recent deceitful actions again the Gluten Free community certainly indicate a long history of poor behavior.

I'll keep you up to date with all the latest as this case proceeds and the additional charges are brought.  You can also read the latest from Andrea Weigl from the News & Observer here.  More from WRAL & NBC17.


Zach said...

New article from N&O - "Man invents killer to avoid food fraud rap"

Yaeger Downs said...

Next court date is Monday - August 30, 2010. Wake Superior Court - Rm 003B - AM Session.

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