Phony 'Rockefeller' gets five years in child kidnapping

14th June 2009, Comments 0 comments

Jurors in Boston found Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, 48, from Bergen, Germany, guilty of parental kidnapping during the incident last July.

Boston -- A man who posed for years as a member of the storied US Rockefeller family was sentenced Friday to five years in prison for kidnapping his seven-year-old daughter.

Jurors in Boston found Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, 48, from Bergen, Germany, guilty of parental kidnapping during the incident last July.

Judge Frank Gaziano sentenced Gerhartsreiter, who insists he is a Rockefeller, to five years in state prison for the abduction, with a chance to get out in four years with good behavior.

A sentence of two to three years for assault as Gerhartsreiter fled from a social worker with his daughter last year will be served concurrently, meaning adding no extra time.

He showed no reaction as the sentence, well below the possible maximum of 15 years, was passed.

US authorities say Gerhartsreiter is a con man who entered the United States three decades ago and lived under a series of assumed identities, the latest being Clark Rockefeller, a supposedly brilliant member of the wealthy clan.

Despite this, the jury did not find him guilty of giving police a fake name.

However, the jury also rejected the lawyers' defense that Gerhartsreiter is clinically insane and therefore not responsible.

The stranger-than-fiction episode began in July 2008 when the German mystery man, seven months after a bitter divorce, snatched his daughter Reigh, nicknamed Snooks, during a supervised visit in Boston.

The ensuing police hunt for the two sparked lurid stories about the suspect's true identity and exploded his fantasy world that had for so long fooled his wife and acquaintances.

As far as his wife, Harvard Business School graduate Sandra Boss, knew he was a talented and upstanding member of one of America's richest and grandest families.

During the trial Boss described meeting her future husband in 1993 and said she found him "very attractive... He was very intelligent, very polite, and he could talk about anything. He was really interesting. And also really very charming."

Gerhartsreiter claimed he had a job negotiating debts for small countries, but never explained where he had an office.

Boss was also taken in by his tale that he was a Rockefeller raised in luxury in New York, orphaned at 18, and granted entry to the elite Yale university at just 14.

His family fortune, he told her vaguely, was tied up in disputes.

After they married in 1995, a darker side emerged almost immediately, she said. "It became a very stressful relationship. He would yell at me and use harsh words."

When they divorced in December 2007, she paid for both their legal fees and gave him 800,000 dollars, two cars and her engagement ring, then left for London with their daughter.


0 Comments To This Article