Joplin Day Care Operator Sentenced for Adoption Scheme
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A Joplin, Mo., day care operator was sentenced in federal court today for a scheme to take the infant daughter of a client to Arkansas to be adopted by another couple.
Lasonya Faye Poindexter, 31, of Joplin, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge M. Douglas Harpool to six years in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Poindexter to pay $1,500 in restitution to the victim parents.
On June 21, 2018, Poindexter pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud.
Poindexter began taking care of a Joplin couple’s two children at her home day care in April 2017. Poindexter admitted that she contacted a couple in Lincoln, Ark., and offered to make arrangements for the couple to adopt one of those children, a five-month-old daughter identified in court documents as Jane Doe. The infant’s parents had never put Jane Doe up for adoption, nor had they ever told anyone that Jane Doe was available to be adopted.
Poindexter made multiple trips to Lincoln in June and July 2017 so the Arkansas couple, who had recently suffered the loss of their unborn child due to a miscarriage, could spend time with Jane Doe. Jane Doe’s parents had never given Poindexter permission to take their daughter across state lines to Arkansas and were unaware that any of the trips occurred. The Arkansas couple usually met with Poindexter at the home of Poindexter’s aunt, but one visit was at the couple’s own home (where they had prepared a nursery room for Jane Doe).
Poindexter falsely told the Arkansas couple that the infant’s mother had left her baby at Poindexter’s house and wanted her to find a good family for Jane Doe because she was the product of a rape. Poindexter told the Arkansas couple that Jane Doe’s mother wanted a closed adoption.
Poindexter asked the Arkansas couple for money to provide for the care of Jane Doe until the adoption was finalized. The couple refused to provide Poindexter money until the adoption was finalized.
The Arkansas woman who sought to adopt Jane Doe viewed the mother’s Facebook page in July 2017 and noticed numerous images of Jane Doe with her mother. On July 20, 2017, the Arkansas woman contacted the mother of Jane Doe through Facebook. She sent the mother of Jane Doe a private message, telling the mother that she and her husband were planning to adopt Jane Doe and asking if she truly wanted to put Jane Doe up for adoption. Jane Doe’s parents then contacted law enforcement.
The Arkansas woman confronted Poindexter after communicating with Jane Doe’s mother. Poindexter sent her a screen shot of an e-mail that appeared to be from an attorney. In reality, the fake e-mail was created by Poindexter. The attorney later told investigators he had never represented Poindexter, had any communication with her and was not involved with any adoption proceeding with Jane Doe.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ami Harshad Miller. It was investigated by the Joplin, Mo., Police Department, the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force, the FBI and the Missouri Division of Family Services.