Serial Stowaway Arrested Again, This Time in Florida - NBC New York
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

Serial Stowaway Arrested Again, This Time in Florida

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Serial Stowaway Marilyn Hartman Charged With Fraud, Trespassing in Florida

    A judge in Jacksonville, Florida set bail on Tuesday at $50,000 for a Bay Area serial stowaway who landed herself in trouble in the Sunshine State. Marilyn Hartman was ordered back into custody after her brief court hearing in Florida, where she faces two felony fraud charges and one misdemeanor count of trespassing after sneaking onto a flight from Minnesota and posing as a guest at a resort. The judge appointed a public defender for her and ordered her to return to court on March 5, according to NBC sister station, First Coast News. Kris Sanchez reports. (Published Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015)

    A Florida judge set bail on Tuesday at $55,000 for a Bay Area serial stowaway who landed herself in more trouble when she allegedly snuck aboard a flight without the proper paperwork and checked into a hotel as a "Biggest Loser" guest.

    Marilyn Hartman was ordered back into custody after her brief court hearing in Nassau County, Florida where she faces two felony fraud charges and one misdemeanor count of trespassing after sneaking onto a flight from Minnesota to Florida. The judge appointed  a public defender for her and ordered her to return to court on March 5, according to NBC sister station First Coast News.

    What remains unclear, is how Hartman snuck aboard another plane, again. Transportation Security Administration officials said they are investigating.

    Hartman, who said she has an unrecognized illness called "whistleblower trauma syndrome," was taken into custody on Monday on suspicion of using a false name after landing at the Jacksonville International Airport, authorities said. As a whistleblower, Hartman has said previously that she was forced by the FBI to flee her house, rendering her homeless. Authorities have tried to get her help at a San Mateo County treatment center in the Bay Area, but she was uncooperative and left the program.

    Nassau County Sheriff's officials said the 63-year-old used a false name from a real guest checking into the "Biggest Loser Resort" program on Sunday at the Omni Resort Amelia Island Plantation, where rooms go for $300 a night. She used Maria Sandgren's name, the sheriff's report states, and as it turns out, the real Maria Sandgren was staying at the hotel to participate in the "Biggest Loser Resort" fitness and weight loss program, as later noted by the coordinator of the program. Hartman was tipped off to that particular guest, when the van driver at the airport asked if she was Maria Sandgren, and she said yes.

    Hartman disappeared when she was contacted by the resort to return to the front desk due to a booking error. But resort security on Monday found her. She had snuck into in a room that was being renovated, a sheriff's deputy noted.

    This is far from the first time Harman has been arrested for sneaking on to a plane.

    On  Aug. 4, she was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport after police there say she got through security at Mineta San Jose International Airport and boarded an LA-bound flight.

    Officials said Hartman has previously breached security at San Francisco International Airport and has a history of trying to get on flights without a ticket. She had at least seven encounters with police at SFO and was arrested four times, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office. In an email on Tuesday, DA Steve Wagstaffe noted that Florida is treating her more seriously than other states, noting the high bail and setting her court date out for next month.

    "Of course, when she was in our county jail," Wagstaffe said, "she seemed to enjoy intermingling with other inmates and correctional officers. Just another place to sleep at night. Airports, jails, she is quite the character."

    In less than two weeks after being released from jail for violating her probation at LAX last year, Hartman was arrested at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix after being spotted loitering in the baggage claim area.

    In court on Tuesday, Hartman told the judge that she is retired legal secretary and received $849 in Social Security each month.

    NBC's First Coast News Jacob Long, NBC Bay Area's Kristofer Noceda and Lisa Fernandez and NBC LA's Christina Cocca contributed to this report.