Prominent Lawyer Pleads Guilty in Baby-Selling Ring
Posted Aug 10, 2011 5:42 AM CDT
By Molly McDonough
A lawyer in San Diego well-known for her work in reproductive law pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud in a case characterized by federal prosecutors as a baby-selling ring.
Prosecutors accused Theresa Erickson and two others of creating an inventory of at least a dozen unborn babies who were then sold to unsuspecting parents for more than $100,000 each, the San Diego Union-Tribune and Los Angeles Times reports.
Under California law, a woman planning to be a surrogate can enter into an agreement with prospective parents. Already pregnant women must go through adoption procedures to give up their babies. But the Union-Tribune says that in this case, the pregnancies were established before the parents were selected.
“They wouldn’t even start shopping for the parents until the second trimester,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason A. Forge is quoted saying.
Erickson, author of Assisted Reproduction: The Complete Guide to Having a Baby with the Help of a Third Party, faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The publications report that a second attorney, Hilary Neiman, a reproductive law attorney from Maryland, pleaded guilty last month to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. A gestational carrier also pleaded guilty in the case. All three women are scheduled to be sentenced in October.
Federal prosecutors were alerted to the baby-selling scheme by another reproductive law attorney and a woman serving as a gestational carrier.
The L.A. Times notes that the unsuspecting parents will not have their babies taken away.
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