TAMPA (CBSMiami) – A Florida woman who investigators say faked a kidnapping and committed cyberstalking has pleaded guilty.
Tammy Steffen, 37, first called the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office last July to report that someone had tried to kidnap her daughter.READ MORE: What To Do To Stay Safe Around Water This Summer At The Pool Or Beach
“I have three kids with me, they’re small kids, and I’m upstairs in the closet, and I do have a loaded 45 with me,” she told the 911 dispatcher.
“I heard that you daughter is outside feeding the dogs and a man tried to grab her from the woods,” asked the dispatcher.
Pasco sheriff’s deputies soon found Steffen, a bodybuilder and fitness trainer, went to great lengths to fake her 11-year-old daughter’s kidnapping.
“She even went so far as to have her daughter urinate herself to make it be more believable to law enforcement,” said a sheriff’s spokesman.READ MORE: Parental Rights Bill Sent To Florida Governor Ron DeSantis
All of it was to frame a former business partner who Steffen believed had sabotaged her effort to win an online health and fitness contest.
The FBI got involved when they learned it also involved cyberstalking.
“In addition to sending threatening messages online, she spoofed calls. She also used voice disguising software,” said FBI special agent Kristin Rehler.
According to the FBI, Steffen set up hundreds of fake online accounts to harass her victims.
“The extent of her crime is astounding. She used over 369 Instagram accounts and 18 email accounts that the FBI identified and which the defendant used to threaten her victims,” said Rehler.MORE NEWS: Coral Gables Man Refuses To Sell Family House Swallowed By Massive Development
Steffen was sentenced to almost five years in prison after pleading guilty to federal charges of cyberstalking and sending threatening communications online.