Judge: Bonnie Sweeten stole more than $1 million

January 18, 2012 3:51:15 PM PST
A federal judge has found that a Pennsylvania woman stole more than $1 million before she called in a hoax carjacking and fled to Disney World with a daughter.

The fraud total and the use of "sophisticated means" increases Bonnie Sweeten's sentencing range to 8 1/2 to 10 years in prison.

The sentencing hearing has inched along over several days. It will resume January 26.

Her father, William Siner of Milton, Del., testified Wednesday that Sweeten made a big mistake and knows it.

The 40-year-old Feasterville paralegal made national headlines when she made a 911 call in May of 2009. She claimed she and her 9 year old daughter had been carjacked

Police launched a nationwide search. They found her at Disney World in Florida.

Sweeten was on the run as her elaborate fraud scheme started to collapse.

Investigators found she had stolen over a million dollars from a relative and from her boss and clients at the law firm where she worked.

Her former boss had little to say outside court Wednesday afternoon.

"I have no comment at this time," said Debbie Carlitz.

Sweeten has been in jail for the past two and a half years since the kidnapping hoax.

Now she faces up to 10 years on the federal fraud and identity theft charges.

Sweeten's father, William Siner made a tearful plea for leniency from the witness stand.

Outside court, Siner let loose with a stream of profanity and had to be restrained by his wife and other relatives.

Bonnie Sweeten is looking at the upper end of the federal sentencing guidelines.

Judge William Yohn rejected defense claims that she stole less than a million dollars.

He put the figure at just over a million which makes Sweeten eligible for a much harsher sentence.

Bonnie sweeten will learn her fate next Wednesday. She is expected to take the stand to make one last plea for leniency.