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Alleged fraud victim recalls hiring ‘hoax mom’ after fake kidnapping: ‘She took advantage of that’

By Walter Perez

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    PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — It wasn’t long after Bonnie Sweeten was released from prison before she reached out to an old friend for help in the form of a job.

That friend, the owner of Carp Excavating in Doylestown, was the best man at her first wedding.

He spoke exclusively with Action News about his decision to hire her as his bookkeeper, although he asked we not release his name.

“I wanted to give her a second chance at life, and her children, and to make up for lost time that she said she needed,” he said.

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.

Sweeten made international headlines 13 years ago for falsely claiming she and her daughter were kidnapped in Bucks County before taking a trip to Disney World.

It was all part of a bizarre scheme to escape charges of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from friends, relatives, and her employer — the owner of Carp Excavating.

At first, he was slow to realize Sweeten was stealing from him because of distractions, including his day-to-day business, and some personal issues he was sorting through.

“She took advantage of that,” he says. “She used it against me is what she did. And she basically did it from day one.”

But Sweeten’s behavior didn’t come into full focus until she opened a credit card account in the victim’s name, and that credit card company contacted him about paying off the charges.

As the victim dug deeper into his finances he found Sweeten was employing some pretty sophisticated methods of siphoning money from his business.

He even found a notice giving her power of attorney over his finances, complete with a near spot-on forgery of his signature.

The victim says when it came time to confront Sweeten, he had to do it over the phone.

“She had called out sick the last few days. She knew something was coming, and when I called her, I confronted her and she admitted it,” he recalled.

The authorities were contacted, Sweeten was arrested, and she has since been formally charged with federal crimes including wire fraud.

If she is convicted, Sweeten faces a maximum of 40 years in prison.

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