Man accused in 1987 Toronto abduction gets prison time in U.S.

Jermaine Mann, 1, (left) and age-enhanced photograph to 21 years old (right). Missing Children Society of Canada

HARTFORD, Conn. – A Canadian man accused of abducting his toddler son in Toronto in 1987 and living on the lam for three decades was sentenced Thursday in the United States to 18 months in prison for illegally obtaining government benefits.

A federal judge in New Haven, Connecticut, imposed the prison time on Allan Mann Jr., who officials said will be extradited to Toronto to face an abduction charge there after he completes his sentence.

U.S. prosecutors had sought a two-year term behind bars for Mann, whose lawyer asked for time already served since his arrest last year.

READ MORE: ‘All things are possible’: Mother reunited with son 31 years after alleged parental abduction

Canadian authorities allege Mann abducted his 21-month-old son, Jermaine, in 1987 during a court-ordered visitation in Toronto and fled to the U.S., where they lived under aliases until Mann was arrested in Vernon, Connecticut, in October 2018. He has been detained since his arrest.

Story continues below advertisement

Officials said Mann told his son that his mother died shortly after his birth. His son, now in his 30s, was reunited with his mother after his father’s arrest.

Canadian officials have asked U.S. authorities to continue detaining Mann while they prepare a formal extradition request, U.S.

prosecutors disclosed in court documents filed Wednesday.

Prosecutors say Mann lied about his identity and used the alias Hailee DeSouza to obtain more than $125,000 in Section 8 housing benefits and more than $55,000 in Medicaid assistance. He pleaded guilty in August to one count of making a false statement, which carries up to five years in prison.

Click to play video: 'Ontario mother reunited with son 31 years after abduction'
Ontario mother reunited with son 31 years after abduction

“For 31 years, Allan Mann hid in plain sight in the United States, posing as a U.S. citizen and reaping the benefits that such citizenship affords,” Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sarah Karwan and Harold Chen wrote in their sentencing recommendation to Judge Janet Hall.

Story continues below advertisement

“Mann orchestrated these payments through a deliberate, intricate and lengthy deception on the government at every level,” they wrote.

Mann’s lawyers weren’t immediately available for comment after the sentencing. One of his attorneys, David Ring, previously called the allegations “a simple false statement case, involving modest losses to the United States government.”

Click to play video: 'Jermaine Mann’s first words to mother: ‘Oh mommy you have my eyes’'
Jermaine Mann’s first words to mother: ‘Oh mommy you have my eyes’

“His crime, simply put, was to falsely claim to be an `eligible citizen’ so he could obtain benefits that, as a non-U.S. citizen, he was not entitled to receive,” Ring wrote in his sentencing recommendation.

Ring said Mann fled Canada with his son because he worried about his son’s safety during a bitter custody dispute with his wife, who planned to take the child to Jamaica.

U.S. authorities said Mann acquired counterfeit birth certificates for him and his son saying they were born in Houston and used them to obtain Social Security numbers.

Story continues below advertisement

U.S marshals and Toronto police launched a new effort to find Mann in 2016 while meeting at a law enforcement conference on capturing fugitives.

Officials said last year that U.S. marshals interviewed several of Mann’s relatives and friends, including a relative who pointed authorities to Connecticut and Mann’s alias.

In a Facebook post this year, Mann’s son said he was dealing with a lot of emotions since discovering his mother was still alive. He also said he was coping with depression and anxiety.

Sponsored content