FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
TUESDAY - December 18, 2007
FOR INTERNATIONAL KIDNAPING
RALEIGH - United States Attorney George E. B. Holding announced today that ALLISON LEE QUETS was sentenced to five years probation by United States District Court Judge James C. Dever, III. The sentence was imposed as the result of QUETS’ guilty plea, entered September 14, 2007 to charges of international kidnaping. Judge Dever’s order places substantial restrictions on QUETS during that probationary period. Among the restrictions ordered by the Court is a requirement that QUETS have no contact with the children she kidnaped or the adoptive parents who have legal custody of those children during the term of probation unless contact is ordered under state law. If such contact is ordered by the state court, then it must be supervised by the United States Probation Office. QUETS was also ordered to pay a fine of $15,000.00.
As set forth in Court documents and at the plea and sentencing hearings, QUETS had become impregnated at age 47 as a result of an in vitro fertilization procedure using donated egg and sperm. During the pregnancy, QUETS sought to have the children adopted, and succeeded in identifying a willing couple residing in North Carolina. The negotiations which ensued nearly collapsed when the adoptive parents were unable to meet QUETS’ demand for reimbursement for expenses related to the in vitro procedure. The birth took place on July 6, 2006. The adoption procedure took place on August 16, 2006 and was accomplished pursuant to Florida law and with counsel for the defendant. Shortly after signing the required documents and releasing the children to the custody of the adoptive parents, the defendant changed her mind and asked for the children back. The adoptive parents declined and litigation ensued. On June 29, 2006, the Circuit Court in Florida issued a 26-page decision awarding custody to the adoptive parents and rejecting all of the defendant’s claims. The defendant appealed. While the appeal was pending, consistent with the terms of the adoption, the defendant was permitted visitation. The Court Order specified that every third week visitation could occur within the vicinity of the adoptive parents’ home here in North Carolina. Shortly after the defendant took custody for visitation purposes on the afternoon of December 22, 2006, she proceeded to drive north to the Canadian border. It was subsequently determined that she had crossed into Canada on the morning of December 23, 2006, with plans for an overnight stay in Kingston, Ontario. An extensive search was initiated by the FBI shortly thereafter which resulted in the issuance of a Provisional Arrest Warrant by Canadian authorities. The defendant was found with the children in Ottawa on December 29, 2006. She had leased a private residence for a 6-month term. Evidence was subsequently developed that the defendant had planned the abduction several months in advance. Unbeknownst to the adoptive parents, she had obtained passports for the children in her name, represented herself as having full custody, made plane reservations for an earlier date, sought contacts in Canada including seeking a Canadian immigration attorney, and made inquiry concerning extradition procedures.
From the date of her Initial Appearance in the United States on January 17, 2007, until entry of her guilty plea, the defendant was held in pre-trial detention. At that time the defendant was released on bond.
Mr. Holding commented on today’s sentencing, “Today’s sentencing hearing concludes a troubling criminal case and a harrowing experience for two children and their adoptive parents. This time last year federal agents were involved in an international manhunt looking for two missing children on behalf of adoptive parents fearful of the worst. Today, those children are safe with those adoptive parents and Ms. Quets, who absconded with them is a convicted felon, has served eight months in jail, and will now be under the supervision of the Court for five years. Judge Dever’s decision should bring some peace of mind to the victims in this case.”
Investigation of the case was conducted by Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney John Bowler was prosecution for the government.
News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney’s web page at www.usdoj.gov/usao/nce within 48 hours of release.