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The Carlitz Foundation

The Carlitz Foundation

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Authorities are looking into additional charges of theft against Bonnie Sweeten, the Bucks County mother whose bogus claim of being kidnapped with her 9-year-old daughter set off a massive law enforcement manhunt and a national media frenzy.The saga ended yesterday at Walt Disney World, where Sweeten, 38, had flown with daughter Julia Rakoczy Tuesday after emptying thousands from various bank accounts and using a former coworker's driver's license to travel.Sweeten's former employer, an attorney whose license was suspended last year, has said Sweeten stole from her law practice.

Some reports have placed the amount of the alleged thefts into six figures.Bucks County District Attorney Michelle Henry said that the investigation also continues into Sweeten's motives for the hoax and disappearance.

"We believe it may have something to do with domestic problems and possibly financial issues," she said.Sweeten and her daughter were taken into custody at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa at about 8:40 p.m., the FBI said.Sweeten was booked early today as a fugitive and held without bail in the Orange County (Fla.) jail.The girl is expected to return sometime today, in the custody of her father, Anthony Rakoczy of Feasterville, Sweeten's first husband.Rakoczy said today on ABC-TV's Good Morning America program that his daughter was "upset" but "sounds great.""When something like this happens you never know if you're going to hear that little voice again," he said.

"I was elated to hear her voice again."For now, Sweeten faces misdemeanor charges in Bucks County of making a false report and identity theft.Over the past week, Henry said, Sweeten had withdrawn $12,000 from several bank accounts.

While it is unclear whether any of those withdrawals were crimes, Sweeten's former employer has claimed that she stole from her law firm.Until last year, Sweeten had worked for the Feasterville law office of Debbie Carlitz.Carlitz, whose law license was suspended last year, also operated a New Hope-based charity called The Carlitz Foundation.

The charity's stated goal is raising money for autism research and for people in Burma.Sweeten was listed as a director and fundraiser for the charity.

In an interview last night with the Philadelphia Daily News, Carlitz labled her longtime - and now former - employee a thief."She worked with me for 15 years and stole money from my law practice," Carlitz told the newspaper.

"She used a (bank) account from the foundation to launder money from the law practice."Among Sweeten's co-workers at the law practice was Jillian Jenkinson, a Trevose woman whose driver's license Sweeten used to fly to Florida.In an interview this morning on CBS-TV's The Early Show, Jenkinson said she had worked with Sweeten for nine years and knew her fairly well."The reason she had my drivers license was to do a discrepancy with my 401(k)" from Carlitz's now-closed law practice, Jenkinson said.

"She told me she needed to photocopy and fax my license to a new IRA."Jenkinson said she was baffled by Sweeten's behavior, saying she had seemed to be a good and involved mother.

"Whatever is going on in her life is a way bigger issue than my ID," she said.

"I hope that she's okay."Jenkinson and Carlitz did not return phone calls from The Inquirer.When Sweeten fled her home in Feasterville, she left behind her second husband, Richard, and two other daughters, one 15, the other an infant."Right now, I don't think anuyone is in a position to discuss possible motives until we have talked to her," said FBI spokesman J.J.

Klaver.Henry said detectives were headed to Florida to interview the woman.Before leaving, Sweeten had called her husband, Richard, and told him to pass along her love to her other children in case she never saw them again, Henry said.The efforts to track down Sweeten - which included an Amber Alert and massive local and national media coverage - began when she told a Philadelphia 911 dispatcher about 1:45 p.m.

Tuesday that she had been abducted by two black males and stuffed into the trunk of a Cadillac.Authorities said she made several calls in which she claimed the men had kidnapped her after a minor accident at a busy intersection on Street Road in Upper Southampton.Several calls were cut off, but Sweeten spoke at least twice with a Philadelphia dispatcher.In the calls, Sweeten indicated that her daughter was with her, but the girl's voice could not be heard, said Lt.

Frank Vanore, a Philadelphia Police Department spokesman.Police who responded to the Street Road scene found nothing to indicate an accident or a struggle.

Authorities nevertheless issued an Amber Alert for the child and began a region-wide search.Though police initially treated the case as they do most reported kidnappings - approaching it with an open mind and considering a range of possibilities, including a hoax or a custody dispute - officers found Sweeten's 911 call especially convincing."It was chilling," said a person involved in the case.By yesterday, the investigation began to yield evidence that indicated that the abduction might not have happened.Vanore disclosed yesterday that Sweeten's calls to 911 were picked up by a cell-phone tower near 12th and Walnut Streets in Center City.Furthermore, Sweeten's GMC Yukon Denali was found at 15th and Chestnut Streets about 1:30 a.m.

yesterday with a parking ticket on the windshield.

The Denali had no damage that would indicate it had been involved in an accident.Authorities also reported yesterday that about an hour after the alleged kidnapping, Sweeten and her daughter had been captured on video surveillance at Philadelphia International Airport.

She used cash and Jenkinson's license to buy two one-way tickets to Orlando for her and her daughter, authorities said.Investigators also said they had heard multiple allegations that Sweeten was in financial distress, another reason to consider her claim of kidnapping a hoax.�
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