BUFFALO, N.Y. – U.S. Attorneys James P. Kennedy Jr. of the Western District of New York and Christina E. Nolan of the District of Vermont, announced today that Lisa Miller, 52, formerly of Virginia, has been returned to the United States from Nicaragua and will be arraigned in the Western District of New York on charges of conspiracy and international parental kidnapping.
The charges carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
According to the 2014 indictment, the defendant, in 2009, conspired with co-defendants Philip Zodhiates, Kenneth Miller and Timothy Miller to flee the United States to Nicaragua with her seven-year-old daughter. The defendant fled the country in order to prevent her partner, Janet Jenkins, from visiting her daughter. Both women had parental rights of the child. Miller, who is believed to have been living in Nicaragua with her daughter since 2009, recently surrendered to officials at the U.S. Embassy in Nicaragua.
Three other defendants were charged and convicted for their roles in this case. Philip Zodhiates was charged in the Western District of New York and convicted following a jury trial of international parental kidnapping and conspiracy to commit international parental kidnapping and sentenced to serve 36 months in prison. Zodhiates organized the kidnapping of Lisa Miller’s seven-year-old daughter. He also assisted in the recruitment of Mennonite Pastor Kenneth Miller, who was convicted following a jury trial of international parental kidnapping in the District of Vermont and sentenced to serve 27 months in prison. Timothy Miller was also charged, convicted, and sentenced to time served (eight months) for his role in assisting Lisa Miller. He purchased a one-way plane ticket for Lisa Miller and her daughter to travel from Toronto, Ontario to Nicaragua. Upon their arrival in Nicaragua, Timothy Miller assisted Lisa Miller and her daughter financially including providing her with shelter.
Lisa Miller will be arraigned today, February 26 at 1:00 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael J. Roemer in the Western District of New York.
The indictment against Lisa Miller is the culmination of an investigation by the Vermont Office of the U.S. Marshal’s Service, under the direction of Marshal Bradley Larose; and the Vermont Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Thomas F. Redford, Special Agent-in-Charge, and the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS). Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael DiGiacomo and Paul Van de Graaf are handling the case.
An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.