Thursday, June 8, 2006
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Texas announced the indictment of Tawana Howard on eight counts of mail and wire fraud related to defrauding three different families that she led to believe would be adopting her unborn child. According to a press release (here) from the USAO:
According to the indictment, from July to December 2004, Tawana Lynn Howard used materially false and fraudulent representations to solicit money from families and adoption agencies. During this time frame, Howard contacted Adoption Ad Network, Family to Family Adoptions, Inc., and Abby’s One True Gift Adoptions, Inc. to assist her in locating a family to adopt her unborn child and each of these three agencies found a family that agreed to adopt Howard’s child. At no time did Howard inform any of the agencies or families that she was involved with any other entity in the adoption of her unborn child.
One family retained Care Adoption, a Texas child placement agency to coordinate their adoption of Howard’s child. Another family retained Family to Family Adoptions to coordinate their adoption of Howard’s child and the third family retained Little Flower Adoptions, also a Texas child placement agency, to coordinate their adoption of Howard’s child. Howard falsely and fraudulently represented that she was not working with any other adoption agencies or prospective adoptive parents. Howard also knew that it was illegal to accept money from one agency while working with another agency, yet, during this time period of approximately six months, she obtained approximately $6,618.85 from various adoption agencies for her living expenses. The total loss sustained by the victims, which includes attorneys’ fees, administrative fees, and travel expenses, totaled $34,678.25. In November and December 2004, Howard informed the three families and the respective adoption agencies that she no longer wished to place her child for adoption.
For the families, the monetary loss pales in comparison to losing the opportunity to adopt a child each believed would become part of their family, and the time wasted in the fruitless process can never be reclaimed. (ph)