Bonnie Sweeten, mother who faked kidnapping 13 years ago, charged with stealing from employer

If convicted, she faces up to 40 years in prison.

6abc Digital Staff Image
Tuesday, October 18, 2022
Mother who faked kidnapping charged with stealing from employer
Federal prosecutors say the 51-year-old faces two counts of wire fraud for stealing from the Doylestown-based excavating company that had hired her as a bookkeeper.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Bonnie Sweeten, the mother who faked her kidnapping 13 years ago in Bucks County, Pa., is facing new charges.

In 2009, Sweeten called police claiming she and her 9-year-old daughter had been kidnapped.

She told police she was calling from the trunk of a car after two men abducted her following an accident on Street Road in Upper Southampton.

Instead, she was on a plane to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida with her daughter.

Authorities said Sweeten had lied to a former coworker to get her driver's license and used it as an alias to buy airline tickets and to get through security.

The Feasterville woman was arrested at the theme park's Grand Floridian Resort the next day.

FILE: Bonnie Sweeten, who claimed she and her daughter had been kidnapped but instead turned up at Walt Disney World, is escorted into a courthouse in Richboro, Pa., May 29, 2009.
AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Authorities said Sweeten was trying to escape charges of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from friends, relatives, clients and her boss.

The so-called "Hoax mom" was sentenced to prison for both the fraud scheme and the kidnapping hoax.

"I ran away, knowing that I dug a hole for myself I couldn't get out of," Sweeten said in court in 2012. "My actions were cruel and sick...what I did was wrong to clients as well, but, then to do it to your family as well, I'm very ashamed of myself."

Sweeten, now a resident of Delanco, NJ, is once again accused of stealing from her employer.

The 51-year-old was charged in the U.S Eastern District Court in Philadelphia on Monday with two counts of wire fraud for stealing from a Doylestown-based excavating company that had hired her as a bookkeeper, federal prosecutors said.

Authorities say the president of the company hired Sweeten in Sept. 2017 because he had known her for many years.

The name of the company was not released.

FILE: Bonnie Sweeten, left, makes her initial court appearance Friday, May 29, 2009 at the Orange County jail in Orlando, Fla.
AP Photo/Red Huber, Pool

According to investigators, Sweeten forged checks and made fraudulent purchases with the company credit card.

As the bookkeeper, prosecutors say, Sweeten had access to company bank accounts, company checkbooks, the company mail, and other sensitive personal information belonging to the president and the company.

They say she "allegedly abused the trust of the president of the company by using her position to steal company funds: using her access to the company's checking account to issue dozens of company checks to herself; using her access to the company mail to steal checks that had been mailed to the company, which she then fraudulently endorsed over to herself; and using her access to the company credit card to make tens of thousands of dollars of personal purchases."

"Bonnie Sweeten's alleged actions are the epitome of biting the hand that feeds you," said Jacqueline Maguire, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Philadelphia Division. "Defrauding one's employer is both a bad career move and a federal crime, for which violators must be held accountable."

If convicted, she faces up to 40 years in prison.