Woman who made false claim on passport form is released
A former Texas woman who pleaded guilty to a federal charge of making a false statement on her son's passport application was released Monday after spending over six months in federal custody.
Chief U.S. District Judge Helen Gillmor sentenced Dorothy Toon Offermann on Monday to credit for time served.
Offermann, 41, has been in custody since she surrendered to authorities in New York on May 26 after she was located earlier in Thailand with her 6-year-old son.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children had issued a lookout for the boy after the boy's father learned his ex-wife and their son were missing and notified the U.S. State Department. The boy is now in the custody of his father in Texas.
Offermann pleaded guilty Oct. 13 in U.S. District Court in Honolulu to making a false statement on a passport application that she applied for here. The offense carries a maximum five-year prison term.
Federal prosecutors allowed her to plead to the false statement charge because Offermann faces charges in Texas for custodial interference.
U.S. State Department regulations require that both biological parents be present when applying for a passport for a minor. If one of the parents cannot be present, the applying parent must submit a sworn statement explaining why the other parent cannot be present to give written consent.
One of the purposes of this requirement is to ensure children are not abducted by one parent and taken out of the country during a custody dispute, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Tracy Hino.
Assistant Federal Defender Pamela Byrne said Offermann admitted to falsifying the application by misrepresenting that she was unable to reach the boy's father. Byrne said she doesn't believe Offermann intended to abduct her son as officials suspected. Offermann and her current husband took the boy to Thailand so she could undergo hip replacement surgery, Byrne said.
"What looked like a vile case turned out to be the complete opposite of what was believed," Byrne said.
Offermann, who is wheelchair-bound and penniless, must find her own way back to Texas to face the charge there, Byrne said.