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RI man pleads guilty in Vt. to selling fake maple syrup, faces up to 3 years in prison

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BURLINGTON, Vt. - A Rhode Island man has pleaded guilty in Vermont federal court to selling mislabeled maple syrup.

Fifty-year-old Bernard Coleman of West Warwick, R.I., said he initially sold pure maple syrup over the Internet. But when the price of syrup increased, he decided to make his own out of water, sugar and maple flavouring. He said he made the syrup in his home and sold it since 2009.

A couple who bought about $220 worth of syrup from him doubted that it was authentic and had it tested by the state Department of Agriculture Consumer Protection. It was determined to be made from cane sugar.

Coleman pleaded guilty Thursday to introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce with the intent to defraud or mislead. He faces up to three years in prison.

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