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Press Release

Woman Sentenced to Twenty-One Months Imprisonment for International Parental Kidnapping and Passport Fraud

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of South Carolina

Contact Person: Nathan Williams (843) 727-4381

Columbia, South Carolina ----United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated today that Dorothy Lee Barnett, a/k/a Alexandria Maria Canton, a/k/a Alexandria Maria Geldenhuys, age 53, of Queensland, Australia, formerly of Isle of Palms, South Carolina, pled guilty to one count of International Parental Kidnapping and two counts of False Statement in a Passport Application. Sentencing occurred immediately after the guilty plea, where Barnett was sentenced to twenty-one months imprisonment, to be followed by two years supervised release.

Facts at the plea hearing established that Barnett removed her infant child from the United States in 1994, obstructing the parental rights of the child’s father. Prior to fleeing the United States, Barnett assumed a false identity, which she maintained until the time of her arrest. Barnett was able to obtain a false passport, using the false identity, which she utilized to flee the United States. The false statements she made in order to obtain and renew the passport were the basis for her two passport fraud convictions. Barnett was located by FBI agents in early 2012, and extradited to the United States in September, 2014.

Barnett’s plea was heard, and sentence was imposed, by United States District Court Judge Richard M. Gergel. The International Parental Kidnapping count carried up to three years imprisonment under 18 U.S.C. § 1204 and each of the False Statement charges carried up to ten years imprisonment under 18 U.S.C. § 1542.

The convictions are the result of an investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Department of State and the Australian Federal Police. Assistant United States Attorney Nathan Williams of the Charleston office prosecuted the case. The Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs provided significant assistance.

Updated February 11, 2015