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Adoption Scam Attorneys

July 9, 2020 Federal Criminal Attorneys

A Goal to Put an End to Adoption Fraud

There are far too many “adoption horror stories” around that can dissuade potential parents from adopting. One cause of this darker side of adoptions is the presence of scammers, con artists, and other perpetrators of scams who abuse the system and take advantage of people and, most unfortunately, innocent children for their own personal gain.

To minimize or prevent adoption scams, there are lengthy and complex procedures involved in the adoption of a child. In some situations, the scam might include the birth mother-to-be, the adoptive parents, or even the adoption professionals, and it is critical to stay vigilant and look out for indicators of a scam. On the other side of the coin, if you’ve been charged with fraud or you’re the subject of an investigation for an alleged adoption scam, it would behoove you to contact a well informed, federal defense attorney to defend your case in federal or state court.

Adoption Fraud Legislation

Many states do not have particular laws with regards to adoption fraud or various adoption scams. Nevertheless, many states will go after these scammers and charge them with crimes of theft by deceit, which can spell decades of incarceration, if convicted. The job of the “fake” adoption is to swindle money out of families by preying on their emotions and hopes to get a  child.

The most common kinds of adoption include infant adoptions, state and court ward adoptions, relative adoptions, stepparent adoptions, international and interstate adoptions, and adult adoptions. Each of these kinds of adoption holds the potential for different scams, and because of this, it is exceedingly difficult to draft an all-inclusive law to address adoption fraud.

Examples of Adoption Scams

Adoption fraud is not a simple thing to spot, which is the reason that it can be an attractive option for con artists and scammers. On the other hand, scammers frequently leave multiple clues that can point to something untruthful or illegal that is taking place. 

For starters, hopeful parents-to-be should be aware of some of these red flags:

  • You receive unsolicited contact
  • The other party fails to answer phone calls or emails
  • Suspicious pressure to hand over money
  • Suspicious pressure to sign documents
  • There is no proof of pregnancy
  • The other party declines the presence of a lawyer, adoption agency, or counselor

Sadly, when parents are preparing to adopt a child, they often have so much on their minds and can easily overlook some of these red flags. Therefore, it can be helpful to look at examples of typical adoption scams:

  1. An adoption agency levies excessive fees or accepts payments for services that they never performed
  2. An adoption facilitator purposely neglects to inform prospective adopting parents about a child’s physical, emotional or developmental challenges
  3. A pregnant mother-to-be posts a notice for adoption and takes funds from several families without truly intending to put her child up for adoption
  4. A who is not pregnant woman poses as a mother-to-be and accepts money from several families
  5. A person attempts to sell a baby for money (this can involve child trafficking)

What Should I Do If I Am Under Investigation or Arrest for Adoption Fraud

Adoptions can generally be emotionally charged and financially intensive situations.  it is critical to have an attorney present throughout the adoption procedure. That said, things can go wrong in the course of the adoption, and in some cases, an individual may have been acting in good faith and had no intention to scam anyone or commit fraud.

If you learn that you’re under investigation or you got arrested for theft by deception, then you need to reach out to a criminal defense lawyer with experience in adoption fraud. If you are found guilty, you could be looking at years behind bars and massive fines. 

Some legal strategies that can be used in the courtroom include:

  • Bringing the prosecution’s narrative, evidence, and witnesses into question
  • Arguing that your conduct and actions were all in good faith
  • Demonstrating that you had no intent to commit fraud

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