Macomb County Woman Pleads Guilty To Adoption Fraud

Tara Lynn Lee schemed prospective adoptive parents out of more than $250,000.

WWJ News
August 20, 2019 - 4:38 pm
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WWJ -- A Macomb County woman has pleaded guilty to charges of wire fraud in connection to an adoption fraud scheme that brought in more than $250,000.

 

Officials say 38-year-old Tara Lynn Lee of New Haven admitted to operating an organization in Michigan named Always Hope Pregnancy and Education Center, but authorities say neither Lee nor her organization were licensed by the state to facilitate adoptions or match birth mothers to adoptive families.

From 2014-2018, officials say Lee repeatedly paired birth mothers with adoptive parents and represented herself to adoptive parents as a licensed social worker with a legitimate adoption agency.

Lee admitted on several occasions she matched more than one set of adoptive parents to the same birth mother and also matched adoptive parents with birth mothers that did not exist, were not even pregnant, or had decided not to place their child into adoption. Lee requested and received payment from prospective adoptive parents for these fraudulent matches and she admitted to causing a loss over $250,000.

Lee is set to be sentenced on Nov. 19 before U.S. District Judge Bernard A. Friedman. Her advisory sentencing guideline range is 97-121 months, or roughly 8-10 years. Judge Friedman will determine her sentence.

"The evidence in this case will show that this is a terrible scam of parents who simply want to make our world better by adopting a child," U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider said when Lee was indicted back in March.

The case was investigated by the Detroit FBI, and it is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara Woodward.