A 37-year-old Laurel woman involved in a divorce case was jailed for contempt yesterday after she failed to comply with an order to turn over half the $80,000 she allegedly took from her children's savings accounts.
The unusual court action that put Nancy Fangshou Hsu Aschenbach behind bars was prompted by a motion filed by a court-appointed lawyer, representing her two young sons, after she failed to deliver $40,000 to the clerk of the Howard County Circuit Court.
Circuit Judge James B. Dudley ordered Mrs. Aschenbach to comply with an order of a domestic court master to turn over $40,000 to the clerk's office pending a judicialdecision on how much of the $80,000 removed from her sons' accounts should be awarded to Mrs. Aschenbach, her children or her estranged husband, who has custody of them.
Judge Dudley declined to answer questions about his ruling yesterday. According to attorneys, the judge said he found Mrs. Aschenbach's testimony that she had given most of the money to her mother and other family members to be "totally without credibility."
The children, ages 8 and 11, were not in the courtroom when the judge sent Mrs. Aschenbach, a resident of the 10000 block of Bill Lilly Court in Laurel, to jail until she complies with the order.
The children's lawyer, Fred Howard Silverstein, said he considered it "unfortunate that anyone has to go to jail, especially in a domestic case, but she should not ignore a court order."
Their father, Robert W. Aschenbach of the 8300 block of Honey Hill Road in Laurel, a retired civil servant who repairs and installs stereo equipment, said last night thatthe money had been set aside forhis sons' education and that hiswife had been custodian of the accounts.