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NY Model Pleads Guilty To Baby Kidnapping, Sentenced To Prison


Apr. 1 2011, Published 2:45 p.m. ET

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Michelle Marie Gopaul, the New York model who pretended to be a Bollywood talent agent in order to kidnap a baby, was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison after she pleaded guilty in a Toronto courtroom Friday to one count of child abduction, has learned.

"I was so scared ... I'm so sorry," Gopaul said at Friday's hearing. "I'm not a bad person, I'm so sorry."

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Gopaul said that heartache over an emotional breakup with a boyfriend spurred her to kidnap the child, in hopes she could keep the relationship alive.

Gopaul, 25, used Craigslist to perpetrate the scam that paved the way to her conviction, hosting a phony casting call in which she pretended to be an agent named Dianne Miller willing to pay $15,000 to the family of an Indian baby girl who'd star in a Bollywood film.

Celebrity Justice

Four couples, including Sejal and Viral Patel, attended the "casting call" with their month-old daughter, Roma on December 30.

Gopaul told the Patels she had to see how the baby would react to strangers and took her in a different room -- only to disappear.

Gopaul was arrested in Scarborough about four hours later when authorities found her with the baby, who was not harmed in the incident.

"More than anything, I wish I could go back and erase it all," Gopaul said in letter addressed to the court.

Gopaul had been seen in projects such as an American Express TV commercial and a small role in the Nicole Kidman-Sean Penn movie, The Interpreter.


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