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Fort Myers Criminal Defense Lawyer / Blog / Criminal Defense / Federal Charges for International Kidnapping in Florida

Federal Charges for International Kidnapping in Florida


Federal kidnapping charges in Florida are very serious. You can face these charges even if you kidnap your own children, and the penalties may be especially severe if you take them across State lines. Penalties may be even more serious if you take your children out of the country entirely. If you face these federal charges, it makes sense to get in touch with an experienced Fort Myers federal crimes lawyer right away. These legal professionals can help you get started with a defense strategy.

Man Sentenced to 16 Months in Prison for Taking His Kids to the Middle East 

Taking your children out of the country can result in serious criminal charges – even if your children seem willing to leave Florida with you. If you do not have full physical custody of your children, you do not have sole control over them. As a result, you must ask permission from both your ex and authorities in Florida before crossing state borders. If you attempt to board a flight or cross state lines, authorities will immediately assume that you are attempting to kidnap the children. This often triggers federal charges.

In April of 2024, the Justice Department announced that a man from Florida had been sentenced to 16 months in federal prison for taking his children to the Middle East. The father did not seek the mother’s permission, and he somehow “fraudulently gained full physical custody of his children” before boarding a flight to Morocco with his children.

Authorities say that the defendant told a Broward County Circuit Judge that his ex-wife had “abandoned the family,” and that he had no idea where she was. In reality, the woman was seemingly on vacation in the Dominican Republic, and the defendant was communicating with her throughout her trip. After gaining full custody, the father boarded a flight to Morocco in 2022. Before leaving the country, he sent his ex-wife an audio recording that promised she would never see her children again.

Racing back to the United States, the woman realized that her children were gone. She quickly obtained joint custody, and a family court later awarded her full custody. Authorities in Morocco located the father and the two children, but he was able to evade them and escape to Turkey. He allegedly left the children behind and returned to the United States at least three times. Although he claimed that they were staying with their relatives, the children had been abandoned with unknown individuals in the Middle East. During one of these trips back to the United States, the father was arrested in Arizona. The children were also eventually located, and they reunited with the mother in 2023.

Find a Kidnapping Defense Lawyer in Fort Myers 

If you have been charged with federal kidnapping charges after taking your children out of Florida, you should meet with a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. If possible, you should work with a law firm with specific experience fighting federal offenses – such as the Fort Myers criminal defense lawyers at The Foley & Wilson Law firm. With our help, you can push back against criminal offenses and protect your rights as a parent.



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