Can you imagine finding out you have lost the baby you thought you were bringing home and $50,000 all at once?
Unfortunately, that’s simply the risk you take when you support a pregnant mother who says she is interested in putting her child up for adoption.
However, what if the baby never existed in the first place?
An experienced scammer can mimic the early processes of adoption so convincingly that adoptive families can’t tell the difference.
Both of these tragic stories happened to an Iowa family. Melonie and David spent many years trying for a family of their own before turning to adoption.
In one interaction, they paid the agency $10,000 and sent the birth mother money for rent before finding out the story was a scam.
They were approached two more times by scam artists before bringing home their oldest daughter.
Incredibly, they also lost $20,000 to a legal adoption process and had to walk away from the newborn they thought would be their son when the birth mother changed her mind.
After all this heartache, they adopted their younger daughter.
Adoption Fraud Laws
Michigan’s most common types of adoptions include:
- Infant adoptions,
- relative adoptions,
- stepparent adoptions,
- state, and court ward adoptions,
- adult adoptions, and
- inter-country and interstate adoptions.
The details and procedures involved in each of these types of adoptions vary widely, so it is difficult to write an all-encompassing law about adoption fraud.
However, each type of adoption holds the potential for scammers to take advantage of prospective parents.
Most states don’t have specific adoption fraud laws, but scammers are instead pursued using theft by deceit charges.
In other words, other fraud charges will apply to the act of adoption fraud, and if convicted, these fraudsters could end up spending decades in prison.
What Adoption Fraud Looks Like
While there are some few people out there who participate in adoption fraud as a heightened form of “catfishing” or internet trolling – essentially preying on the emotions of strangers as a cruel joke – most fraudsters are in it for the money.
Because this type of fraud is less easy to spot, it attracts con artists.
Here are some warning signs that no baby exists:
Since there isn’t just one process by which adoption takes place, some parents choose to self-advertise rather than go through an adoption agency. If you do this, be aware that you may be opening yourself up to scam artists.
Adoption Agency Charges High Fees
Adoption is expensive, so this one is also not easy to spot. These high fees can mean a fake agency is charging for services it never rendered.
One important detail not to forget in your process is that even in a legitimate adoption, some of what you pay is non-refundable even if the child doesn’t come home with you. Choose a reputable adoption professional.
No Proof of Pregnancy
Sonograms can be faked. However, the proof of pregnancy can’t be simulated in a situation where you get to know the birth parent or parents.
This is one reason it’s crucial to form a relationship with the birth parents.
If you are experiencing strange pressure to sign documents or hand over money, or if the other party wants to conduct business without the presence of adoption professionals, it’s time to look into the situation.
Other types of adoption fraud can look like:
The other party not answering calls or emails.
- Adoption facilitator purposely withholding information about physical, developmental, or emotional problems the child has.
- A pregnant mother putting up a notice and taking money from several families without intending to put the child up for adoption.
- A woman who isn’t pregnant posing as a mother-to-be to take money from families.
- Someone trying to sell a baby for money, which can involve child trafficking.
Investigated For Adoption Fraud in Michigan
On the other hand, you may be facing criminal charges for a situation in which you never intended to commit fraud.
Adoptions are emotionally fraught and financially difficult situations. It is easy for emotions to run high when things go wrong from the other party’s perspective.
If you are being charged with adoption fraud, you will need an experienced fraud criminal lawyer, immediately. If you are found guilty, you could be facing significant fines and years in jail.
Call Michigan Fraud Attorney, David J. Kramer
Although adoption fraud is rare, it does happen, and it can be devastating when it does.
If you are charged with or arrested for adoption fraud, call my office today to fight the charges. Let’s get you your life back.