Tonawanda News — A Tonawanda woman was sentenced to 18 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Bill Wilson for international parental kidnapping and making a false statement on a passport application, according to U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul.
Jacqueline Bontzolakes, 38, of Tonawanda, took two children out of the country to Canada, obstructing the custodial rights of the victims’ biological fathers.
She then took both
children to Barbados in February of 2010 and retained them there, according to the indictment charging Bontzolakes.
It states Bontzolakes violated the custody arrangements set by Erie County Family Court and without the knowledge or permission of their fathers.
Homeland security agents helped return Bontzolakes to Miami, where she was arrested on March 24, 2010. The two children were returned to their fathers.
A jury found her guilty of the charges in
“Today’s sentence is just punishment for a person who kidnaped her own children and kept them away from the lawful, court designated guardian, in this case their fathers,” U.S. Attorney Hochul said. “Such cases are sensitive in nature but must be handled by the proper judicial authorities when, as in this case, circumstances warrant.”
She had faced a maximum penalty of 11 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The sentencing is the culmination of an investigation on the part of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James C. Spero.