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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2004

    CA - lawyer to be sentenced in baby-selling scam


    SAN DIEGO (AP) Theresa Erickson's reputation as a leading reproductive law specialist eased the concerns of surrogate mothers and intended parents who were desperate to have children.

    But prosecutors say that trust also let her lure couples into a baby-selling scam that netted millions of dollars by dealing in genetically desirable babies conceived in Ukraine by anonymous donors and carried by surrogates.

    "These were criminals that were creating human life for sale," said surrogacy attorney Andrew Vorzimer, who represented surrogates that helped blow the whistle on the scam. "Many people consider this to be a surrogacy arrangement gone awry. But this was not surrogacy in any shape or form."

    Erickson, a 44-year-old attorney, was expected to be sentenced Friday in federal court in San Diego. She could face up to five years in prison.

    In fact, Erickson was working with surrogate Carla Chambers and respected Maryland attorney Hilary Neiman to line up parents for babies that had already been created by sending U.S. surrogates to Ukraine to be implanted with sperm and embryos from anonymous donors, prosecutors say.

    Vorzimer said no one knows how many babies were created that way, and important genetic information for the infants may have been lost forever. The surrogates were also unaware of the scam, federal prosecutors say.

    "They attempted to create the most marketable baby available, which was blond hair, blue-eyed baby, while simultaneously pulling on the heart strings of intended parents," Vorzimer said. "It defies description the immorality that was involved in this ongoing operation that went on for years."

    More at link....

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    That's a bizarre case. I've been following it since it came up (I'm originally from SD). The only thing that makes sense is greed. She had a very successful, unique law practice. She was not a shady, fly by night attorney. Seems like she got off pretty easy though.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    February 2012:

    A respected North County lawyer will serve five months in prison for her role in an international baby-selling operation...

    Chambers, who helped recruit the surrogates, was described by a victim as "a greedy con artist who shopped babies to the highest bidder."

    Another member of the international baby-selling ring, Maryland attorney Hilary Neiman is already serving a year prison sentence.

    Prosecutors say between 2005 and March 2011, the women sold at least 12 babies.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Once the women reached their second trimester, the attorneys then sold the unborn baby to unsuspecting parent claiming a prior surrogacy agreement had fallen through.
    Under California law, surrogates must enter the agreement before the embryonic transfer.

    Federal prosecutors said Erickson worked with Carla Chambers of Las Vegas, Nevada and Hilary Neiman of Maryland to create an “inventory of unborn babies.”
    The women then submitted court documents claiming the surrogacies were legitimate.
    After the papers were filed, Erickson would add the names of the parents who had purchased the child.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Theresa Erickson, 43, was sentenced to five months in prison, followed by nine more to be spent in home confinement. She was also fined $70,000. Her two partners in the scheme, Hilary Neiman, 32, a Maryland attorney, and Carla Chambers, 51, of Las Vegas, were given one year sentences...

    Chambers and Neiman were tasked with recruiting women to act as surrogates. The surrogates would travel to Ukraine, where they were implanted with donated sperm and eggs.

    American doctors are required to check for documentation of a surrogacy agreement before implanting any embryos. The standards are lax in Ukraine, so Erickson sent her recruits there to complete the process....

    [Erickson] even filed fraudulent paperwork in court to back up her story.

    Couples were charged between $100,000 and $150,000 for each baby. Surrogates who completed the pregnancy were paid between $38,000 and $40,000...

    Erickson's baby-selling ring placed a dozen babies in homes. The babies will remain with those families.
    Erickson has appeared on national television and wrote a book called "Assisted Reproduction: The Complete Guide to Having a Baby with the Help of a Third Party."

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