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Investigation into adoption fraud ongoing

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Brazil City Police Department is investigating the recent report of an unusual case of fraud.

"There are people in the world that want children so bad, they're desperate," Brazil Police Chief Dave Archer told The Brazil Times about the department's current investigation into its first adoption fraud. "And while they might not fall victim to any other type of scam, they could potentially fall for this type of scam out of that desperation to have a child."

Because of the nature of the case and the emotional toll on those involved, Archer said details about the victim, whom he confirmed does live in Clay County, would not be released.

"This is a very emotional matter," Archer said, adding he also is experiencing mixed emotions about the case. "This is trafficking humans, babies from another country for cash, and that is illegal. But I think it is important that the public is made aware this type of scam is out there."

Archer said the victim apparently answered an advertisement on a Wabash Valley the website HoosierTopics.com, which lists services and goods available for sale or trade in the area.

"It is unique that the victim initiated the contact in this case, but it is still a scam nonetheless," Archer said.

Website owner Wayne Meyer told The Brazil Times Tuesday evening about the challenges of trying to keep scammers off the popular site.

"In the last month, every free board in America has been hit by scammers from foreign countries like Africa," Meyer, who keeps in contact with other site managers across the United States, said. "They're everywhere."

Information on the "free ad" website, dated March 8, shows a post appeared stating "child adooption for childles homes - Daniela orphanage."

Meyer said several similar posts have been previously removed from the site, and this one, which slipped through the cracks, would be removed now that it has been brought to his attention.

Meyer released the e-mail -- pettyjer@yahoo.com -- connected to the advertisement in order for people to be wary of a scam.

"We try to police the site, and started blocking foreign IP addresses but then they began to spoof IP addresses so they looked like they come from local IP servers," he said. "We're now checking each ad individually and do away with the questionable ones. People can also contact us if they think an ad is a scam to bring it to our attention."

Meyer said various technological updates to the site would soon be in place, which should keep scammers off the site, but people need to be wary when using sites like this one on the Internet.

"Use common sense and if you think you're being scammed contact the Indiana Attorney General's Office," Meyer said. "Local officials can't do a lot because these scammers are from foreign countries."

According to the BCPD case report, the victim initially was told to wire a $260 document-processing fee to a foreign country on April 13. A day or two later, the victim received pictures of the child and was told to wire a $1,900 adoption-processing fee. The victim was told another $3,100 in expenses for a health insurance policy was needed immediately to cover the child during the flight to America.

"That's when the victim felt something was wrong," Archer said. "After making some calls to an airline, the victim came to the department to report the scam. I think this is the first case like this in the area that our department has investigated. There are some very emotional aspects to this case. It's a proverbial can of worms, but what it all boils down to is someone is attempting to sell a child for money. In essence, a black-market baby."

To formally take on the rights and responsibilities of a parent as a way to become the guardian of a child is a lengthy legal process that could involve various state and federal statues, while adopting a child from another country adds elements of international law.

"You really need an attorney whenever involved in the legal process of adopting a child," Archer said. "It's just a good rule of thumb to have one."


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Wow...who in their right mind would try to adopt a child on Hoosier Topics...?

-- Posted by Propria Persona on Wed, Apr 22, 2009, at 7:57 AM

Sometimes people want something or in this case someone so bad, they will go to any lengths to get it. I have children, but I cannot imagine not being able to not have any. My life would be so empty, and unfullfilled. Maybe the couple was beyond the age limit for adoption, which really needs to be changed. The child is the one who will

suffer here. It is sure a shame. The only way a child should be sold by a parent, if for the child's safety, and to escape the country.

-- Posted by busymomandstudent on Wed, Apr 22, 2009, at 9:01 AM

This is why sealed records harm more than protect. Sealed adoptee access harms not just the adoptee but both of their families.

With the money being as high as it is in adoption of any form, is it really any wonder why criminals would attempt to gain access to that kind of money? It is a thirty to forty billion dollar business when you include international, foster care, and domestic infant adoption.

Who fights for this secrecy in adoption? The adoption industry fights it. They are not protecting the birthmothers. They are not protecting the adoptive parents. There was no confidentiality promised. It is something that they could not keep. The birthmothers did not want their identity kept from their children but they wanted it kept from the public.

Keeping records sealed like they have been only increases situations such as this.

-- Posted by Amyadoptee on Wed, Apr 22, 2009, at 9:29 AM

Why is it that people want to adopt from other countries- RED TAPE. We as Americans should-NO MATTER WHAT- worry about the U.S. and OUR children, not those from other countries (even if YOU came from another country). Rememeber BUY LOCAL- KEEP OUR MONEY HERE!

-- Posted by rooster1 on Wed, Apr 22, 2009, at 11:07 AM

I do not care how bad you want a child, it's Hoosier Topics, you don't buy children on a small time selling/trading website. It would be like trying to buy a child on ebay, stupid, these people lack any common sense.

-- Posted by Propria Persona on Wed, Apr 22, 2009, at 11:15 AM

Are you serious???? These are children, living, breathing humans...they shouldn't be posted on a site that also sales car parts, etc....and as a mother myself, I couldn't even imagine buying(or selling) children online like that!!!!

-- Posted by proud mom and soldier on Wed, Apr 22, 2009, at 6:15 PM

I received an email Wednesday morning about a 2 year old boy that "ST. Mary's Orphange" wants to put up for adoption.The email address was q.mary94@yahoo.com. I had not heard anything about any adoption scheme but this didn't sound good to me so I called child services as soon as they opened this morning. I was transfered to an investigator and sent him the email I received. I had placed an add to do childcare and this person asked me to "help" place this little boy in an adoption. To know now that someone was scammed with an adoption scheme is really frightening, but use a little sense here.... Listing a child on Hoosier Topics?

-- Posted by zoeybelle1 on Wed, Apr 22, 2009, at 11:49 PM

With all the scams going on these days I doubted there was ever a child involved, which I understand there was not. So thankfully no child is being "sold". I understand that people are desperate sometimes to have children, but when you run an add in the want ads section of papers all over the country that say "let us raise your child" or "loving couple wishes to adopt", etc., you are opening yourselves up to all kinds of heartbreak. Frankly, I dont see how offering to "buy" a baby is any worse than offering to "sale" one. Use common sense. If you aren't smart enough to know right from wrong than maybe you shouldnt be allowed to adopt.

-- Posted by Icareaboutbrazil on Thu, Apr 23, 2009, at 6:59 AM

Rooster1:Well sort of off topic but does concern adoption...Even with legal adoptions the child is sort of "sold" as some cost more than others to obtain. White healthy infant adoption costs are not subsidized as they are what many couples want. It's the older children and the ones with physical or emotional problems who our government subsidizes in order to make a family willing to take them on.

This is why some people have resorted to foreign adoptions. They feel that the chances of getting a healthy child from a family who has given it up due to financial inability to care for it [or social stigma of having a girls in China] is better than taking in a US child who is possibly drug addicted due to parent's addiction during pregnancy.

Not too many years ago Vietnamese parents were giving up their 1/2 American children as they were ostracized in their home country.

You cannot talk about borders when it comes to children. There is no them and us. All children need to be loved and no child can be considered more worthy than another but the truth is that some ARE considered worth more than others. If a couple has the money to make one more child loved and take on the responsibility of raising them, kudos to them. Think of it as getting another American. How cares where they were actually born; Clay County or Beijing, Somalia, or Dominican Republic? If we only limited adoptions to American children, some would just not adopt.

The entire world is economically connected. You should know that by now. When the US economy is down, so is China's. We're all on this planet together and have to start thinking that way a little more so ALL of us will benefit.

-- Posted by Jenny Moore on Thu, Apr 23, 2009, at 7:39 AM

My husband and I had tried adoption for a few years and even through an adoption facilitator and an adoption agency we were scammed. It happens everyday, everywhere. We had 1 in Indy and 1 in IL. They are good at what they do, they have no heart, they can be very convincing, and the longer you have been trying to adopt the faster you get sucked into a situation. We pressed charges in both situations and prevailed very nicely. Both situations were new to the detectives and prosecutors we worked with but we worked together and took things slow to assure all ducks were in a row and we couldn't be happier with the outcome. So don't point fingers until you have walked in those shoes for a mile, adoption is a wonderful way of adding to or starting a family but the hardest thing I think I have ever tried and fully understand why people go to other countries. We did not adopt we are now grandparents to 2 beautiful baby girls in Heaven and 1 handsome, very active 1 year old boy. Would I have done things differently if I knew then what I know now YES. Goodluck to all who take the path of adoption for whatever reason and may God bless you with the child or children that are meant to be with you for always.

-- Posted by HUBBABUBBA on Thu, Apr 23, 2009, at 1:05 PM


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