LOS ANGELES – A Los Angeles-area woman who brought her two children to Mexico to keep them from their father was sentenced Thursday, Nov. 17 to 13 months in prison in a federal kidnapping case.
Faye Hsin-I Ku, 42, of Lakewood, was sentenced by United States District Judge John A. Kronstadt.
Ku pleaded guilty in September to two counts of international parental kidnapping.
When she pleaded guilty, Ku admitted that on August 29, 2015, she took her two children – who were 15 and 9 at the time – into Mexico through the San Ysidro Port of Entry. “At the time, Ms. Ku had the intent to obstruct the lawful exercise of parental rights” of the father, Ku admitted when she pleaded guilty.
After bringing the children to Mexico, Ku brought the children to Sinaloa. The FBI’s Legal Attaché in Mexico City pursued a series of leads to identify their location and passed information to Mexican officials, who took prompt action, assuring the safety of the children. The children were reunited with their father on February 12.
“This defendant sought to deprive her children’s father of his court-sanctioned parental rights by fleeing the United States,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “She abducted her children, abused their emotional attachment to her, brought them to a dangerous part of Mexico and had a destructive impact on the entire family.”
FBI officials in Seattle and Mexico City coordinated the deportation of Ku with Mexican authorities. On February 12, Mexican officers accompanied Ku to Los Angeles International Airport, where she was taken into federal custody.
“Bringing the children home safely was only possible due to extraordinary partnerships with law enforcement agencies across multiple states and in Mexico,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Jay S. Tabb Jr. of the FBI’s Seattle Division. “The children’s well-being was the ultimate triumph after six months of dedicated investigative work, but today’s sentencing provides additional satisfaction by reassuring communities that parental kidnapping will not be tolerated.”
Once she completes her prison sentence, Ku will be on supervised release for one year.
The investigation in this case was conducted by the FBI’s Seattle Division, which received substantial assistance from the FBI’s Legal Attaché in Mexico City, Mexico’s National Institute of Migration, the FBI’s Los Angeles Division, the Bellevue (Washington) Police Department, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.”
This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Scott Paetty of the Major Frauds Section, who coordinated with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington and the King County (Washington) Prosecutor’s Office.