Archive for Monday, November 28, 2011

Woman pleads guilty in adoption scam, victims included Shawnee and Bonner Springs residents

November 28, 2011

A woman who pretended to be pregnant with twins and swindled couples in Shawnee, Bonner Springs and other cities out of thousands of dollars has pleaded guilty in the adoption scam.

Roxanne Janel Jones, 35, Kansas City, Mo., pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom’s office announced today.

According to Grissom’s announcement:

In her plea, Jones admitted that she contacted adoption agencies, claimed to be pregnant with twins and sought couples wanting to adopt, requesting rent money and other living expenses in return for adopting the babies.

The 14 couples she victimized lived as far away as California and Massachusetts.

The Bonner Springs couple first put an advertisement on Craigslist in hopes of finding someone to adopt their dog. Jones adopted the dog and told the couple she was pregnant with twins she wanted to give up for adoption. The couple met with an attorney and a social worker in preparation for adopting the children — and also send money orders totaling $830 to Jones — but a check of the Social Security number Jones begrudgingly gave them actually belonged to Jones' son.

The Shawnee couple gave Jones a $200 gift card and a check for $525. A Leavenworth couple Jones scammed gave $1,000 to an Overland Park adoption agency, which gave $500 to Jones.

Jones’ sentencing is set for March 12. She faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a fine up to $1 million on the conspiracy charge, plus another two years on the identity theft charge.

Jones’ boyfriend and co-conspirator, Taj A. Isaiah, 29, Kansas City, Mo., previously pleaded guilty to the conspiracy count. He picked up money orders and wire transfers from prospective adoptive families and made false statements to the couples. His sentencing also is set for March 12.

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