Couple Charged With Trying to Sell Children
WAUKEGAN, Ill. (AP) _ A couple collected $35,000 in a baby-selling scam by duping prospective adoptive parents in five states, prosecutors say.
The couple began the scam by responding to an ad from a Lincolnshire couple two years ago and arranging to give up their then-unborn first child for $7,000, said Charles Cleveland, a spokesman for the attorney general.
They never surrendered the child, he said.
″They had also sold this little girl to couples in Nevada, California, New Jersey, Connecticut and several other couples in Illinois,″ Cleveland said.
″In each instance, she would tell a hard-luck story, usually that she was a rape victim, and she needed financial help for medical and living expenses,″ Cleveland said. She met with some of the couples while she was pregnant, he said.
Angela Renee Andrews, 21, and her boyfriend, Terry Pounds, 24, both of Antioch, were charged Thursday with theft, attempted theft, conspiracy and illegal placement of a child.
The scheme backfired last month when acquainted couples in San Diego and Los Angeles realized they were negotiating with the same couple to buy the same baby, authorities said.
A lawyer for the San Diego couple, who had paid $8,577 to adopt Ms. Andrews’ second daughter, held Ms. Andrews and Pound to their deal, forcing them to surrender that baby, authorities said.
Police were tipped by a Glencoe couple who became suspicious after placing a newspaper ad seeking an adoption. The Lincolnshire couple knew the Glencoe couple and warned them that they had been swindled, police said.
Ms. Andrews’ first daughter was put in state custody Thursday.
Private adoptions are legal in Illinois. Adoptive parents often pay legal, counseling or doctors’ fees, but it is never legal to exchange money for a baby, state officials said.