Trial begins for woman accused of arranging kidnapping

Opening statements began Wednesday in the trial against a Newport Beach woman charged with asking a private investigator to kidnap her son.

Niveen Ismail, 45, wanted her 7-year-old out of foster care so the two could flee to Europe or the Middle East, according to a statement from the Orange County district attorney's office.

According to prosecutors, in 2009 she offered an investigator a large sum of money for him to kidnap the boy from his Lake Forest foster family and take him to Tijuana. She had lost custody of him in 2005.

Instead, the investigator contacted the Newport Beach Police Department. He and an undercover officer then met with Ismail, where she detailed obtaining passports for herself and her son, according to the D.A.'s office. Ismail was arrested on the spot.

If convicted she faces three years in state prison. Court records show Ismail pleaded guilty in 2003 to locking a person inside a vehicle who was unable to escape. She was sentenced to $20 in fines.

— Lauren Williams

Twitter: lawilliams30

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