Disney-visiting fraud faces 10 years

Posted: January 19, 2012

A FEDERAL judge yesterday found that admitted fraudster Bonnie Sweeten ripped off more than $1 million from clients and co-workers at a Bucks County personal-injury law firm where she worked before lying to a 9-1-1 operator about having been abducted and then jetting off to Disney World.

That finding and others by U.S. District Judge William H. Yohn Jr. potentially exposes Sweeten to 10 years in prison. Yohn deferred final arguments and sentencing until next Thursday.

Sweeten, 41, who has been in federal custody since June 2010, has pleaded guilty to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

Two witnesses - her father and the staff psychologist at the Federal Detention Center where she's being held - described Sweeten as different from the "master conwoman" the government says she is.

William Siner, Sweeten's father, offered a heartfelt plea for leniency for his daughter, whom he described as a wonderful mother. "This has been a nightmare for all of us," he said. "I don't know what made our daughter do what she did. We're sorry."

Meanwhile, Yohn rejected a host of arguments by Sweeten's defense to lower the bar on the advisory sentencing guidelines.

Defense attorney Michael Raffaele argued that Sweeten stole less than $1 million, which would have lowered the guideline, and said the guidelines shouldn't be enhanced because she didn't use "sophisticated means" in her crimes.

Sweeten spent nearly a year in state prison for the fake 9-1-1 call and identity theft.

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|