Kansas City Woman Pleads Guilty
In Adoption Scam
KANSAS CITY, KAN. – A Kansas City woman has pleaded guilty to running an adoption scam in which she pretended to be pregnant with twins and willing to let them be adopted in return for money and gifts, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said.
Roxanne Janel Jones, 35, Kansas City, Mo., pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud, and one count of aggravated identity theft. In her plea, she admitted she contacted adoption agencies, claimed to be pregnant and sought to meet couples who wanted to adopt. Jones asked the couples for money for rent and other living expenses.
In her plea, Jones admitted she swindled 14 couples. The couples were from Bonner Springs, Overland Park, Florence, Olathe, Shawnee and Leavenworth, as well as Minnesota, Georgia, California, Tennessee and Massachusetts.
Jones’ co-defendant, Taj A. Isaiah, 29, Kansas City, Mo., sometimes assisted her by pretending to be her landlord. He picked up money orders and wire transfers from prospective adoptive families and he made false statements to the couples.
The victims included the following:
– R.S. and L.S., who lived in Minnesota. Jones falsely told them she was pregnant with twins and wanted to place them up for adoption. In June 2009 they wired $16,265 to an escrow account to be used for Jones’ care during the pregnancy. Jones received $2,400 in gift cards and rent money from the couple.
– K.M. and J.M., who lived in Georgia.
– M.J. and D.W., a couple who lived in California. They flew to Kansas to meet Jones and Isaiah. They bought Jones massages, a haircut, groceries and meals. In September, 2009, Jones sent them a text message saying she had given birth at KU Medical Center. The couple met Jones and Isaiah in the hospital cafeteria before sending the couple to the hospital nursery to pick up the babies. At the nursery, the couple were told there was no record of Jones giving birth.
– J.B. and her husband, who lived in Bonner Springs. Jones contacted them after they placed an advertisement on Craigslist in hopes of putting their dog up for adoption. Jones adopted their dog and then told them she was pregnant with twins and wanted to give them up for adoption. The couple met with an attorney and a social worker in preparation for the adoption. Jones balked at giving them her Social Security number until they insisted. She shouted the number at them and they wrote it down. A check of the number showed it belong to Jones’ son. The couple sent 11 e-Money Grams to Jones totaling $830.
– Jes. B and Jer. B. of Knoxville, Tenn. The couple traveled to Kansas City where they took Jones and Isaiah to dinner. Isaiah pretended to be her landlord. The couple wrote checks to Isaiah to pay Jones’ rent.
– Ji. B. and Je. B., who sent checks to Isaiah to pay Jones’ rent.
– R.P. and A.P., who lived in Olathe. They bought Jones $100 worth of groceries.
– C.D. and D.D., who lived in Minnesota. Jones met them by responding to an online advertisement.
– S.W. and R.W., who lived in Shawnee. They took Jones and Isaiah to lunch. They gave Jones a $200 gift card and a check for $525.
– E.E. and M.E., who lived in Leavenworth. They gave $1,000 to an adoption agency in Overland Park. The agency gave $500 to Jones.
– D.K. and R.G., who lived in Massachusetts. An adoption specialist for an adoption agency in Overland Park gave Jones a $200 Wal-mart gift card and a check for $550, both of which were paid for by the couple.
– H.G. and M.G., who lived in California. Jones sent them photos of two newborn babies who she claimed were her children.
– C.R. and M.R., who wired $650 to Jones to pay her rent.
– K.S. and T.S., who lived in Florence, Kan., They visited Jones while she was incarcerated at the New Century Jail in Johnson County, Kan., and then used a debit card to put $50 on her jail commissary account.
Jones is set for sentencing March 12. She faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison and a fine up to $1 million on the conspiracy charge. On the aggravated identity theft charge, she faces a mandatory two years consecutive to the sentence on the other count.
Co-defendant Taj A. Isaiah, 29, Kansas City, Mo., pleaded guilty to the conspiracy count and is set for sentencing March 12.
The Overland Park Police Department and the U.S. Secret Service investigated. U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom and Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Oakley prosecuted.