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Va. woman pleads guilty in fake Guatemalan kidnapping scheme

Friday - 8/12/2011, 12:05pm  ET

WASHINGTON - A Virginia woman has pleaded guilty in relation to a fake kidnapping scheme set in Guatemala and aimed at extorting thousands of dollars from her family.

Federal prosecutors say Sheena Flores, 34, of Manassas, faces up to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to one count of "transmitting in foreign commerce, with intent to extort money, a communication containing a threat to injure another person."

Prosecutors say Flores' ruse began in July of 2010 when she was living in Guatemala with a child under the age of 2. On July 6, she called a family member in Manassas and said she and the child had been kidnapped by three men who wanted $5,000 in two hours or they would kill her and the child.

The same day, a family member received text messages from Flores' cell phone saying Flores and the child would be killed if the family did not pay $10,000 by the next day. A family member reportedly wired $3,000 from Virginia to Guatemala after believing the story.

Prosecutors say Flores and the child had not been kidnapped and she was simply trying to extort money from her family. She is scheduled to be sentenced in October.

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