Macomb Mother Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud Charges Related To Fraudulent Adoption Scheme
A Macomb County woman pleaded guilty today on charges of wire fraud in connection to an adoption fraud scheme, announced United States Attorney Matthew Schneider.
Schneider was joined in the announcement by FBI Acting Special Agent in Charge Rainer S. Drolshagen.
Pleading guilty was Tara Lynn Lee, 38, of New Haven, Michigan.
According to court records, Lee operated in Michigan under the name Always Hope Pregnancy and Education Center. Neither Lee nor her organization were licensed by the State of Michigan to facilitate adoptions or match birth mothers to adoptive families. Yet from 2014 to 2018, Lee repeatedly paired birth mothers with adoptive parents. Lee represented herself to adoptive parents as a licensed social worker with a legitimate adoption agency.
During today’s plea hearing, Lee admitted that on several occasions, she matched more than one set of adoptive parents to a birth mother. Other times, Lee matched adoptive parents with birth mothers that did not exist, were not pregnant, or had not decided to place their child into adoption. Lee requested and received payment from prospective adoptive parents for these fraudulent matches. In her plea agreement, Lee admitted to causing a loss over $250,000.
A sentencing date has been set for November 19, 2019 at 11:30 am before United States District Judge Bernard A. Friedman. Lee’s advisory sentencing guideline range is 97-121 months, and Judge Friedman will determine the ultimate sentence imposed.
A webpage has been created to provide case related information to those affected by the offenses. Please visit www.justice.gov/usaeo-edmi and click the link titled U.S. v. Tara Lee.
The case was investigated by the Detroit FBI, and it is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara Woodward.