Woman who fled federal sentencing 18 years ago found living on houseboat in Key West, deputies say

Michelle Singleton fled Kansas City before 1996 sentencing hearing

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Michelle Singleton was arrested in Key West. She fled from a federal sentencing hearing in Kansas City in 1996 and was living under an assumed identity in Key West.

KEY WEST, Fla. - A woman who failed to appear in court on federal charges in Kansas City 18 years ago was found living on a houseboat in Key West using another name, according to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office.

Michelle Singleton, 66, was arrested Friday. She failed to appear in federal court for sentencing on charges of payroll check fraud in March 1996 and a federal warrant was issued for her arrest.

Monroe County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Becky Herrin said the U.S. Secret Service recently received information that Singleton might be living in Key West under the assumed name of Catherine Harris.

A comparison of Singleton's picture with the expired Florida driver's license photo issued to Harris confirmed she was the same woman, Herrin said.

Singleton was on the houseboat when Monroe County sheriff's detectives and a federal agent from the Kansas City office showed up, Herrin said.

As Singleton was gathering her identification, some pieces of paper fell out of a file she was carrying, Herrin said. Those pieces of paper turned out to be Singleton's Social Security card and birth certificate, Herrin said.

Singleton admitted to obtaining a fraudulent birth certificate that she used to obtain a Florida driver's license a month after fleeing from Kansas City, Herrin said.

She did not renew her license because the rules had changed and she didn't have the proper identification, Herrin said Singleton told detectives.

Singleton also told detectives she was in the process of trying to sell her houseboat and move to the Dominican Republic, Herrin said.

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