Bonnie Sweeten, 40, Pennsylvania, was sentenced to 100 months in prison for fraud schemes in which she stole in excess of $600,000 from her employer and family members.
Sweeten pleaded guilty June 21, 2011 to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Court Judge William H. Yohn, Jr., ordered Sweeten to pay restitution in the amount of $1,091,831 and a special assessment of $200. Sweeten remains in federal custody.
Accorinding to indictment to which Sweeten plead guilty, she stole funds from family members, from the law office where she had been employed, and from the law firm’s clients.
She used the identity of another person and posed as another person while using false identification and forging signatures on various documents including a property settlement.
Sweeten obtained a mortgage loan on the real property of the Law Office, without the knowledge or authorization of the true owner or the owners husband.
The Defendant posed as the owner at the settlement for the mortgage loan, presented a false power of attorney containing a forged signature of the owner’s husband, and created and presented false identification in the name of the true owner with Sweeten‘s photograph on it. Sweeten also forged D.C.’s signature on various closing documents and checks.
Additionally, Sweeten stole the identity of a friend and fellow employee and used the identity to facilitate her flight from the jurisdiction. She also forged a signature of a judge on a court order for the purpose of fraudulently withdrawing client funds from a bank. As part of her scheme to defraud, Sweeten concocted an elaborate hoax that she and her daughter had been kidnapped in order to deceive family members and law enforcement as to her whereabouts.
The case was jointly investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bucks County District Attorney’s Detectives. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Denise S. Wolf.