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Mo. woman pleads guilty in adoption scam

Nov. 30, 2011 at 12:41 AM

KANSAS CITY, Mo., Nov. 30 (UPI) -- A Missouri woman admitted trying to swindle 14 couples seeking to adopt children by pretending to be pregnant with twins she wanted to give up for adoption.

Roxanne Janel Jones, 35, of Kansas City, could be sentenced to as much as 22 years in prison after pleading guilty in U.S. District Court to conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud and aggravated identity theft, The Kansas City Star reported Tuesday.

Taj A. Isaiah -- who posed as Jones' spouse, boyfriend or landlord in the scheme -- has pleaded guilty to a related charge. He and Jones are to be sentenced at a joint hearing March 12.

Those defrauded include couples in Kansas, Massachusetts and California. Some are expected to travel to Kansas City to testify at sentencing.

Jones admitted contacting adoption agencies, claiming to be pregnant and, after establishing relationships with couples looking to adopt, asking them for money for food, utilities, rent and other expenses. Some of the money was transferred by wire, leading to the fraud charge, the Star said.

Jones was charged with identity theft because she had used her son's Social Security number.

Victims of the scam also spent money on plane tickets and hotels and for attorneys and adoption agencies.

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