Note To Moms: Don’t Fake Your Own Kidnapping And Go To Disney World
Bonnie Sweeten, a 40-year-old Pennsylvania mom who faked her own kidnapping but really headed to Disney World, has been sentenced to more than eight years in jail. As part of her elaborate scheme, Sweeten stole more than $1 million from family members and former employer.
It all started in 2009, when Sweeten made a call to 911 claiming that she and her then 9-year-old daughter had been kidnapped by two black men in a Cadillac. She said the men had rear-ended her SUV and that she and her daughter were being held in the Cadillac’s trunk. In reality, she had taken her middle child to Disney World in Florida, where she was promptly arrested.
In addition to stealing from relatives and the law practice where she worked as a paralegal – including the firm’s clients – Sweeten also used other people’s identities to buy airfare to Florida, according to reports. She and her daughter also traveled under false names during the trip, which was paid for in cash. Finally, she forged signatures on a series of documents, including a property settlement and court order.
“I wanted something so bad that I would do whatever I had to do to get it,” Sweeten said during her sentencing on Thursday. “When you go to prison, you realize you don’t need anything monetary. You don’t need any of it.”
“My actions were cruel and sick,” she continued. “What I did was wrong to [law firm] clients as well, but to do it to family, I’m very ashamed of myself.”