The Washington Post

Manassas woman pleads guilty in staged kidnapping in Guatemala

A Manassas woman pleaded guilty Thursday to a federal charge involving a phony kidnapping plot from Guatemala, federal prosecutors said.

Sheena Flores, 34, entered a guilty plea to one count of of transmitting in foreign commerce, with intent to extort money, a communication containing a threat to injure another person, said the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of Virginia.

Prosecutors said in court documents that on July 6, 2010, while Flores lived in Guatemala with a child younger than 2, she called a relative in Manassas and said she and a child had been kidnapped and were being held by three men. She said the kidnappers wanted $5,000 in two hours or Flores and the child would be killed.

Later that day, a family member in Manassass received several text messages from Flores’s cellphone demanding $10,000 in ransom by the next day, officials said.  A family member believed the story and wired $3,000 from Virginia to Guatemala.

However, prosecutors said the ransom demands were phony and Flores and the child had not been kidnapped.

Flores is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 21.  She faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, officials said.

Clarence Williams is the night police reporter for The Washington Post and has spent the better part of 13 years standing next to crime scene tape, riding in police cars or waking officials in the middle of night to gather information about breaking news in and around Washington.
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