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Press Release

Former Executive Director of Adoption Agency Pleads Guilty to Submitting False Information to Accreditation Agency

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

The former Executive Director of International Adoption Guides Inc. (IAG), an adoption agency, pleaded guilty yesterday to making false and fraudulent statements to the Council on Accreditation with respect to IAG’s accreditation.  

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles of the District of South Carolina made the announcement.

Mary Mooney, 57, of Belmont, North Carolina, admitted as part of her guilty plea that she made false statements to the Council on Accreditation (COA), which granted IAG accreditation to provide adoption services in certain countries.  IAG marketed itself as a COA-accredited adoption services provider and numerous clients relied on IAG’s accreditation to confirm that IAG’s adoption services were ethical and in compliance with U.S. and foreign law.  Mooney admitted that in support of IAG’s application for accreditation she made several false representations, including: falsely stating that IAG was in substantial compliance with the relevant regulations; intentionally failing to list her co-defendant, Alisa Bivens, as one of IAG’s employees providing adoption services; and intentionally failing to disclose that James Harding, another co-defendant, was the functional director and head of the company.  All of these false and fraudulent statements were material to COA’s decision to accredit IAG to conduct intercountry adoptions for purposes of the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Intercountry Adoptions.  Without that accreditation, IAG would not have been legally permitted to facilitate intercountry adoptions from any country that was a party to that convention and numerous families would have never retained IAG to provide adoption services.

Mooney is the third defendant to plead guilty as a result of this investigation.  Mooney pleaded guilty before Senior U.S. District Court Judge Sol Blatt Jr. of the District of South Carolina.  A sentencing hearing will be scheduled at a later date.

This ongoing investigation is being conducted by the Bureau of Diplomatic Security.  The department appreciates the assistance of the Office of Children’s Issues at the U.S. Department of State.  The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney John W. Borchert of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jamie Lea Schoen of the District of South Carolina.

Updated January 15, 2015

Press Release Number: 15-049