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Woman sentenced for falsely reporting highjacking [Updated]

May 4, 2009 |  3:18 pm

A woman who falsely reported to Los Angeles airport officials that a man was plotting to hijack a plane was sentenced today to six months' house arrest and three years' probation, her attorney said.

Susan Monica Kriss, 24, pleaded guilty last July to one count of providing false information of a threat. Kriss was ordered today by U.S. District Court Judge Florence-Marie Cooper to undergo psychological counseling.

[Updated at 4:05 p.m.: A previous version of this post incorrectly said Kriss believed the man to be her boyfriend.]

Prosecutors said Kriss called police dispatchers at LAX in August 2007 and said Essam Beshara was planning to use chemicals to hijack a flight to Egypt. In fact, Beshara, whom Kriss had allegedly been harassing and stalking for years, was traveling to Egypt for his wedding. Beshara and his family were barred from the flight and had to buy last-minute tickets for about $14,000.

Kriss’ attorney, John Passanante, said his client believed she had had a relationship with Beshara in the past and felt he had taken advantage of her.

“She kind of made it her hobby to bother him,” Passanante said.

Passanante said Kriss had psychological problems dating to her childhood. She is going through psychiatric and spiritual counseling and recently completed a paralegal training program, Passanante said.

Prosecutors had asked that Kriss be sentenced to 15 months in prison. According to court papers filed by prosecutors, Kriss began harassing Beshara as early as 2003. He obtained a restraining order against Kriss, and she served time in state prison for stalking and threatening him.

She also has been arrested in the past for stalking and threatening other former boyfriends and family members, according to court files.

-- Victoria Kim