updated 8/27/2009 7:04:00 PM ET 2009-08-27T23:04:00

A white suburban mother who placed a 911 call claiming two black men had carjacked her — but instead flew to Disney World with her child to escape a looming arrest — was sent to prison Thursday for nine to 23 months.

Bonnie Sweeten, 38, pleaded guilty in Bucks County Court to identity theft and filing a false police report, misdemeanors that typically bring probation.

But a judge offended by Sweeten's performance on a 911 tape said her hoax led to a frantic national search, traumatized her daughter and, perhaps worst of all, tore open society's racial wounds.

"Your wants, your needs, your wishes and desires came before everybody," Judge Jeffrey L. Finley said.

He called Sweeten, a paralegal and PTA mom, "a calculating, manipulative, hardhearted woman."

Sweeten, of Feasterville, just outside Philadelphia, parked her vehicle on a downtown Philadelphia street May 26, made the 911 call and hopped in a cab to the airport. She flew to Orlando, Fla., with her 9-year-old daughter under a co-worker's name after creating a ruse to get the woman's driver's license.

Sweeten told the daughter, Julia Rakoczy, to make up a name "because Mommy did something wrong and she could go to jail," according to District Attorney Michelle Henry.

At the time, Sweeten was being investigated for possibly swindling $280,000 from her ex-husband's 92-year-old grandfather. She and her second husband, a landscaper, lived in a $425,000 house and had spent heavily on two years of infertility treatments.

Sweeten had been putting off her ex's family for months but under threat of prosecution had finally forked over a six-figure check, Henry said.

The check bounced the day she fled.

The FBI arrested Sweeten at Disney World two days later.

'I let my life slip out of control'
Sweeten apologized in court and said she would not blame the hoax on the mounting stresses in her life, including marriage problems and the infertility treatments, which produced a third daughter last year. She also has a teenage daughter with ex-husband Anthony Rakoczy. He stood by her in court, although second husband Larry Sweeten, who recently filed for divorce, did not attend.

Sweeten said her actions had cost her her reputation, her lifelong friends and her husband.

"I let my life slip out of control, and I did not have the proper tools or coping mechanisms to handle the enormous stress I was under," she said. "My life imploded."

Sweeten could face more time in prison, as federal investigators are pursuing the theft from the grandfather's 401(k) account. Sweeten also had several credit cards belonging to her former boss, lawyer Debbie Carlitz, with her at Disney World, Henry said.

Carlitz has said her firm's finances are under review.

After Sweeten was led off in handcuffs Thursday, her father, William Siner, 66, attacked two news cameramen waiting outside the courtroom, shoving one of them into a bench.

Siner, of Milton, Del., had appeared devastated in the courtroom as his daughter admitted her crimes and was ordered to prison. Sheriff's deputies detained him, but police were investigating and no charges were expected to be filed Thursday night, Henry said.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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