Bonnie Sweeten pleaded guilty -- admitting she concocted an elaborate abduction hoax in hopes of escaping a life spinning out of control -- apologized to her family, daughter and the African-American community.
To her family, Sweeten said she was sorry for the "hell I've put them through," then to her 9-year-old daughter, she apologized for throwing her into the national spotlight. Sweeten also apologized in court to the entire community of African-Americans for "fueling an ugly myth and stereotype."
The Feasterville mom called 9-1-1 back in May, saying two black men carjacked her and her daughter and stuffed them in the trunk of a car. That set of a nationwide Amber alert. What Sweeten had really done was stole a friend's identity, bought two tickets to Orlando where she was tracked down two days later in an upscale hotel at the Disney World resort.
She pleaded guilty Thursday to misdemeanor charges of identity theft and making false reports to police.
Sweeten, who is also the focus of a federal investigation into stolen funds that could total hundreds of thousands of dollars, said she ran off because, "I let my life slip out of control." She said her world "imploded on May 26 when I realized I could not repay the funds I stole." She has been sentenced from nine to 24 months in prison.
The 38-year-old suburban mom has three daughters. Her second husband, Richard, who said during the initial stages of the investigation, "we can get through anything" has filed for divorce.