Kidnapping hoax convict seeks house arrest

Dec. 13, 2009 at 4:46 PM
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PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- A Philadelphia woman, jailed for a highly publicized kidnapping hoax, seeks house arrest even as accusations of fraud and theft mount against her, lawyers said.

Bonnie Sweeten, 38, says she is contrite and will never again fly in the face of the law, but public records have come to the fore of the ways in which she allegedly brought about the disbarment of her employer, Feasterville attorney Debbie Carlitz, by repeatedly withholding crucial information from her, forging her signature and impersonating her, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported Sunday.

Other accusations of Sweeten's fraud, forgeries, thefts, and numerous other deceptions have surfaced pertaining to civil lawsuits and state disciplinary proceedings, the newspaper said.

Sweeten's lawyer, Louis Busico, plans Wednesday to request Sweeten's release from prison, where she has been incarcerated for three months, the Inquirer said.

Bucks County Judge Jeffrey L. Finley had called Sweeten "a calculating, manipulative, cold-hearted woman," on Aug. 27 when she was convicted on charges of identity theft and making false reports -- misdemeanors that often result in probation -- related to the fake kidnapping, the newspaper said.

In May, Sweeten had called 911 and said she and her 9-year-old daughter had been abducted, by two black men. She traveled to Orlando, Fla., with using for identification a stolen driver's license.

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