Adoption Scams Make Me Sick

In the business of reporting fraud and scams you often find similar situations, scenarios and stories across the huge array of scams in this world. Although I’ve heard, seen and read a lot of similar cases and continually question my faith in humanity there’s nothing like an adoption scam to get the blood boiling.

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A few months ago I wrote about 20 year old, Davanna Dotson, of Oklahoma who was facing eight counts of fraud for a multi-state adoption scam. And I’m sad to say that here I sit, not even two months later, reporting on yet another adoption scam, from Oklahoma nonetheless.

On November 8, 2011 Serena Carol Matthews and Scott Thomas Smith were each sentenced to serve 27 months in prison for conspiracy to defraud in connection with an adoption scam. The Judge also ordered that Mathews and Smith each serve three years of supervised release upon their release from prison and be jointly responsible to pay $36,930.49 in restitution to their victims.

Mathews and Smith were indicted in June, where it was alleged that from November of 2010 to June of 2011 they conspired to defraud prospective adoption providers (i.e. law firms specializing in adoption and adoption agencies) and adoptive parents in order to obtain money.

As part of their conspiracy, the defendants agreed Mathews would falsely pose as a pregnant woman who wished to place her child for adoption and receive money for expenses of the “birth mother” such as rent, utilities, food and other personal items.

Mathews received and filled out a number of adoption application forms using false information regarding her personal identification, the conception of a child, the identity of the “birth father,” and false medical documentation such as a positive pregnancy test, blood work and ultrasound pictures of an unborn child.

Smith created false documents for Mathews to use in this scheme, including Oklahoma drivers licenses created in the false names used by Mathews and false rental leases. The defendants used the adoption providers to arrange meetings between Mathews and prospective adoptive couples who hoped to adopt a baby. The adoption providers entered into an agreement with Mathews to place her purported unborn child with an adoptive family and to cover certain expenses on her behalf such as rent, utilities and living expenses. The rent checks were to be made payable to her “landlord,” Scott Smith, who was not her landlord but rather her boyfriend.

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On August 1, 2011, both Matthews and Smith pled guilty to the conspiracy. Following the sentencing hearing today, both defendants were remanded into custody to begin serving their 27-month prison sentence – Source.

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