3 federally indicted in fake kidnapping

By Betty Simpson | bsimpson@wcia.com

Published 07/25 2014 04:47PM

Updated 08/07 2014 06:15PM

Latest: 1:40 pm, 8/7/14, Thursday
SPRINGFIELD -- A federal grand jury indicted the alleged victim of a kidnapping which turned out to be fake. The indictment handed down Wednesday charges Monica Ramirez, 19, of Urbana, Eduardo Cortez, 25, of Texas and Jarbey Villalobos, 18, of Champaign, with conspiring to give false statements to law enforcement to conceal the kidnapping hoax.

Ramirez is also charged with lying to law enforcement and perjuring herself before a federal grand jury. Authorities say Ramirez and Cortez were in a dating relationship, but Ramirez's family did not approve of Cortez. Investigators say, not long after her family moved to Illinois from Texas, the pair began planning the kidnapping to cover Ramirez's willingness to be with Cortez.

Officials say part of the plan included Ramirez appearing in court the day of the incident, June 11, to request an emergency order of protection against Cortez, which was granted.
Original: 6:29 pm, 7/25/14 Friday
URBANA -- Three people were arrested on federal charges in connection to an alleged kidnapping hoax last month.

Monica Zacatlan Ramirez, 19, of Urbana, Eduardo Guerrero Cortez, 25, of Texas, and Jarbey Reyes Villalobos, 18, of Champaign, each appeared in court Friday. Authorities say the three took part in a fake kidnapping of Ramirez from Market Place Mall, on June 11.

Officials say Ramirez was involved in the plan to conceal her willingness and voluntary consent to be with Cortez from her family and current boyfriend. If convicted, the accused face up to five years in prison and fines of $250,000.

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