Lifetime movies are notorious for ripping many of their stories straight from the headlines and the premise of Mommy's Secret sounds like it should be one of them: a suburban mom tries to make ends meet by becoming a bank robber. More specifically, a habitual bank robber who robs banks in the same place that she lives and works. But is Mommy's Secret based on a true story? It appears that this story is actually fictional, as Lifetime has not promoted it as having any factual basis.
However, that doesn't mean that there have never been reports of mothers who were accused of or plead guilty to bank robbery for various reasons. It's just that these stories are a little more harrowing than Mommy's Secret appears to be. As an example of a mother accused of such a crime, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Elizabeth Kenneally was charged with several counts of robbery in October 2014 before the charges were dropped in April 2015, according to the Associated Press. Kenneally, a suburban mother, was reported missing by her own mother, who posted on her Facebook page about the issues her family had allegedly been facing. According to the AP, Kenneally claimed that she was not missing, but did not want to be with her family. Frankly, these reports seem far too serious to be featured in a movie.
The same is true for a real mother who confessed to participating in a bank robbery for a tragic reason. According to SouthJersey.com, Kathleen Wortman Jones was sentenced to 15 years in prison after acting as the getaway driver in a bank robbery in 2002. Jones' entire family participated in the robbery, which did not use any real weapons and aimed to "save the family's home from foreclosure." At her sentencing, Wortman Jones apologized for her role in the robbery and said, "I should have prevented this from happening instead of taking part in it ... I'm so truly sorry. Not a day goes by when I don`t feel remorse, guilt and shame for the tremendous error in judgment I made."
Similarly, a California woman, Roxanne Pennock, pled guilty to a string of robberies in 2010, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. During the trial, Pennock's defense attorney claimed that the crime occurred because of financial issues and that Pennock was "remorseful."
So while the premise of Mommy's Secret technically isn't all that far-fetched, because women like Pennock and Wortman Jones have indeed turned to bank robbery in order to take care of their families, I'm glad the film seems to be leaning into its melodrama rather than adapting a tragic true story.