Abduction, ID Theft Case Begins to Unfold

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Orlando, PA—A child whose mother faked her own abduction and took the pair to DisneyWorld has been returned to the custody of her father.

Authorities say that 38-year-old Bonnie Sweeten emptied her bank accounts, took identification belonging to a co-worker and used it when buying airline tickets from Pennsylvania, where she lived, to Florida. She also made a 911 call alleging that she had been abducted and locked in the trunk of a car.

Sweeten was under investigation for theft from a relative and possibly from other individuals, although no charges had been filed against her. Additionally, she is suspected of having embezzled up to several hundred thousand dollars from her employer, a suburban Philadelphia lawyer named Debbie Carlitz.

Carlitz, whose law license has been either suspended or inactive for several years, runs a foundation which purports to raise money for autism research and Burmese indigents. However, the foundation is not registered in Pennsylvania or on the national database of charities recognized by the IRS.

When reached by phone, Carlitz refused to comment on whether any money had been taken from her foundation.

Sweeten, who has several children by her ex- and current husbands, apparently withdrew more than $12,000 from various bank accounts. She paid cash for airline tickets, using a driver’s license she had taken from a former coworker, Jillian Jenkinson. She had obtained the license by telling Jenkinson that she needed to make a copy of it in order to process her 401k paperwork. She also booked a motel room at Disney under Jenkinson’s name.

After learning of the identity theft, and confirming that Sweeten and her daughter had boarded the flight to Orlando by checking airport security tapes, police staked out the Disney complex. It was there that they apprehended the pair, who had been missing for approximately 30 hours.

Sweeten was arrested and charged with filing a false report and identity theft. Her daughter, Julia Rakoczy, was reunited with her father at the Orlando police station after having been placed in protective custody.

Neighbors and friends described Sweeten as a caring, friendly woman who hosted neighborhood parties and lived a regular family life in her home on a cul-de-sac. Her ex-husband, and the father of the abducted girl, Anthony Rakoczy, says he thinks that Sweeten “lost it a little bit,” despite having “always been very together, [with] tons of friends.”

 

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