Judge Sentences Defendant David Matusiewicz to 48 Months’ Imprisonment on International Parental Kidnapping and Bank Fraud Counts
|U.S. Attorney’s Office December 10, 2009|
David C. Weiss, United States Attorney for the District of Delaware, announced that David Matusiewicz, age 42, formerly of Middletown, was sentenced today by United States District Court Chief Judge Gregory M. Sleet to 48 months of imprisonment and a five-year term of supervised release. Mr. Matusiewicz had previously pled guilty on September 3, 2009 to one count of bank fraud and one count of international parental kidnapping.
According to documents filed in court and statements made during the proceedings, in August 2007, Mr. Matusiewicz obtained a $249,000 home equity line of credit from WSFS Bank, a federally insured financial institution, through fraud. Mr. Matusiewicz was informed by the bank that both he and his ex-wife, C.M., were required to sign various closing documents in order for this line of credit to be approved by WSFS Bank. On August 15, 2007, Mr. Matusiewicz arranged to meet with a WSFS bank representative at Mr. Matusiewicz’s office, in order to sign the closing documents. Mr. Matusiewicz did not tell the bank representative, who believed that the defendant and his ex-wife were still married, that the two were in fact divorced. Instead, Mr. Matusiewicz signed the closing documents and falsely and fraudulently indicated that C.M. was in another room at the office, when in fact C.M. was not present in the office that day. Mr. Matusiewicz then left the room, and later returned, presenting the bank representative with the closing documents, on which he had forged or caused to be forged C.M.’s signature and initials. After obtaining the approximately $249,000 in funds regarding the home equity line of credit, Mr. Matusiewicz transferred those funds to an overseas bank account in New Zealand.
Days after committing the above-described fraud, Mr. Matusiewicz kidnapped his three children, L.M., L.M. and K.M. and removed them from the United States. Mr. Matusiewicz, along with his mother, traveled with the children in a motor home through Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua. Federal and State of Delaware law enforcement authorities, including the New Castle County Police Department, the United States Marshal’s Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Department of State, the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware, the United States Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs, and law enforcement officers in Australia, New Zealand and Nicaragua, then participated in a 19-month investigation to locate the defendant and his children and to investigate the defendant’s crimes.
In March 2009, deputy United States Marshals from the District of Delaware located and arrested the defendant in Nicaragua and reunited the children with their mother. Among other documents found on the defendant’s person or in the motor home at the time of his arrest were numerous false identification documents containing his and his children’s pictures—including false Social Security cards and false passports.
United States Attorney David C. Weiss said: “The Court’s sentence of 48 months' imprisonment recognizes the very serious nature of the defendant’s crimes. In defrauding WSFS Bank of nearly a quarter of a million dollars, the defendant caused significant financial harm to the bank and to his ex-wife. But by kidnapping his three children and in taking them across international borders, the defendant did even more long-lasting damage—he robbed the children of 19 months of a normal, healthy childhood and exposed them to continuing psychological harm. The court’s significant sentence is also important, because it makes clear that the abduction of our children—particularly across international boarders that can be sometimes difficult for law enforcement to navigate—brings with it serious consequences in the federal criminal legal system.”
The case was principally investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the New Castle County Police Department, and the United States Marshal’s Service. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Christopher J. Burke.