PHUKET: An American father arrested in Phuket in June last year has been sentenced by a US federal court to 10 years in prison for forging documents needed to illegally bring his daughter to Thailand, according to a US media report.
Samuel Lee Horton, 38, was arrested by FBI agents in Phuket in June 2010 for violation of an outstanding child custody order.
During his stay in Phuket, he told his three-year-old daughter Zoei that her mother had died, reported MSNBC news affiliate WYFF4 at the time of his arrest.
Horton was yesterday sentenced to serve the maximum possible sentence of 10 years for passport fraud, followed by three years of probation, said the WYFF4 report.
Horton earlier pleaded guilty to charges of forging his ex-wife’s signature on his daughter’s passport application, a serious offense under US law.
Horton’s ex-wife Cindy now has full custody of their daughter and son, and Horton has been stripped of his parental rights.
The attorney representing Cindy Horton said Samuel claimed he was taking their daughter to Disney World, but instead took her to Thailand.
He is expected to plead guilty to an additional charge of violating the custody order still pending against him in the South Carolina court system.
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