By J. DeVoy
No cute pictures of infants here — just a bizarre story from San Diego
Attorney Theresa Erickson pled guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud for her role in what federal prosecutors described as a “baby-selling ring.” (source.) Technologically, the scheme was pretty simple: Women would travel to the Ukraine to get pregnant with the eggs and sperm of donors. This was done overseas because, at least in California, nobody would perform such an IVF using both donated eggs and sperm without a pre-existing surrogacy contract. [I learned just enough family law to pass the bar. Bear with me. - Ed.] The conspirators apparently misrepresented to the San Diego Superior Court that such surrogacy contracts existed, though – a fact belied by having to go Ukraine to complete the procedure. Indeed, there was no underlying surrogacy contract, and no surrogates. (source.)
Once the pregnancy was into the second trimester, the conspirators would start shopping the babies to prospective parents. The conspirators apparently claimed that the original adoptive parents bailed out of the deal, and a new home was needed for the baby. The targeted parents, believing they were picking up where another couple left off, paid more than $100,000 in fees, with the women carrying the babies receiving $38,000 to $45,000 in compensation. (source.)
So to recap: Defendants, a lawyer among them, make misrepresentations to the court about rights they don’t actually have – and that never existed – in order to make money off of unwitting third parties who believed they had such rights. Gee, never seen that before! Nope, never ever!
Erickson’s sentencing is scheduled for October 28.
H/T: Brian, Ken and Patrick