A woman who failed to appear in court on federal charges in Kansas City 18 years ago was apprehended in Key West Friday, living on a houseboat under another name.
Michelle Singleton, now 66 years old, failed to appear in federal court for sentencing on charges of payroll check fraud in March of 1996. A federal fugitive warrant was issued for her arrest. According to reports, the Secret Service recently received information she was possibly living in Key West under the assumed name of Catherine Harris.
An agent from the Kansas City office called Detective Sgt. Donald Catala with the information. When Detective Sgt. Catala looked at a photo of Harris, he recognized her as a person he has seen many times in the city of Key West. A check of computer records showed a woman by the name of Harris was living at an address in the Hilton Haven neighborhood of Key West. She had a 1994 Honda with a Florida tag, and had obtained a Florida driver s license in 2006 which expired in 2012.
A comparison of a picture of Singleton with the driver s license photo of Harris confirmed they were one and the same.
A Secret Service agent from the local office responded to Key West and met with the detective sergeant and with Detective Dave Chavka. They all went to the houseboat she was living on, which is moored at a pier at 15 Hilton Haven Drive. Singleton was on board. When they asked her for her identification, she gave them her expired license. They asked for her birth certificate and, when she got it from a file, some other pieces of paper fell out. Those pieces of paper turned out to be the social security card and birth certificate for Singleton.
She said she d obtained a birth certificate with the name Harris one month after fleeing from Kansas City. She used that birth certificate to initially obtain her Florida Driver s license. She said she had not renewed her driver s license because they had changed the rules for applying for it and she did not have all the proper identification she needed to apply for the renewal.
She admitted she was, indeed, Michelle Singleton. She was taken into federal custody on the federal fugitive charges. Singleton told the officers when they found her she was in the process of trying to sell the houseboat and move to the Dominican Republic.