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Woman fakes her own disappearance to avoid a court date

A North Carolina woman's legal problems went from bad to worse recently when authorities discovered that she had allegedly faked her own disappearance to avoid a scheduled court date. Her husband has been accused of aiding her in the scheme and is also facing criminal charges.

Police say the woman's husband reported her missing on July 5, claiming that she had disappeared while swimming in North Myrtle Beach. He reportedly said that he believed she had drowned.

Upon receiving the report, authorities launched a search and rescue effort that cost an estimated $50,000 before the report was discovered to be false. City officials say they have not yet determined what will be done to recoup those expenses.

The woman is facing charges for several felonies, including forgery, identity theft and obtaining property under false pretenses. She is reportedly being held in jail on a $500,000 bond. Her husband was booked and released on a $5,500 bond, and is facing charges for criminal conspiracy and making a false report to a police officer.

This case presents an extreme example of the lengths that people are sometimes willing to go to in order to avoid appearing in court. However, even under more mundane circumstances, missing a scheduled court date is a serious matter that can make any legal problem much worse.

If you fail to show up for a court date, the judge may issue a warrant for your arrest -- even if you have not previously been convicted of a crime. Other serious consequences may also apply depending on the circumstances, such as the specific nature of the charges and the length of time that has passed since the scheduled court date. If you are facing criminal charges and have missed your court date, talk to a lawyer about what your next steps should be.

Source: The State, "Early estimates top $50,000 in search for 'missing' N.C. woman in North Myrtle Beach," Amanda Kelley, July 11, 2014

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