Woman sentenced in SoCal baby scam

March 11, 2012 at 10:53 AM

SAN DIEGO, March 11 (UPI) -- A U.S. judge sentenced a New Zealand national to prison for her role in a baby trafficking ring that peddled the unborn children of surrogate mothers.

Carla Chambers, 52, was convicted in San Diego federal court of recruiting surrogate moms in the United States and then selling the parental rights to new parents through an adoption attorney.

The ring specialized in Caucasian children, which TVNZ said Sunday were a valuable commodity among U.S. couples seeking to adopt.

Chambers and her cohorts were charged with selling the rights to unborn children for $60,000 to prospective parents in violation of U.S. laws banning the practice. "The victims were exploited at a time in their lives when they were in a most vulnerable situation and trusting in legal counsel to abide by the laws of this country to provide them with legitimate services," said Keith Slotter, a special agent with the FBI.

The New Zealand Herald said Chambers was originally from Lower Hutt and had her status as a nurse revoked in 2001 after she misrepresented herself as a gynecologist and supplying drugs to a teenage girl that increased her chances of becoming pregnant.

Chambers will serve another seven months of house arrest after she spends five months in prison and will also pay $220,000 (NZ$267,770) damages.

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