Judge sentences former attorney in baby case
By Neal Putnam
A former attorney who lives in Ramona was sentenced to five months in prison followed by seven months home detention after she pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud involving misrepresentations to adoptive parents about pregnant surrogates.
The U.S. Attorney called the case a “baby selling ring” against Theresa Erickson, 44, and two other lawyers, but her attorney said those were sensationalized descriptions of the violations of law.
Erickson resigned her state bar membership after she pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge last August and is allowed to remain free on $10,000 bond until she surrenders April 23.
It’s been described as a complicated scenario. Erickson was an expert on reproductive law and arranged for women to be impregnated with embryos and live in the Ukraine area. Surrogates are supposed to meet adoptive parents before they get pregnant, but Erickson and the others sought fees from would-be parents after the fact.
Erickson’s attorney, Ezekiel Cortez, maintained she only made $70,000 over a seven-year period in the arrangement. U.S. District Court Anthony Battaglia said he would set a restitution hearing within 60 days.
The babies remain with the adoptive parents who had no knowledge the scheme violated federal laws. They were told the original adoptive parents dropped out of the arrangement with the surrogates.
Carla Chambers, 51, was also sentenced Feb. 24 to five months in prison. The third lawyer, Hilary Neiman, 32, received five months in prison on Dec. 1. Cortez disputed the U.S. Attorney’s claim that Erickson was the ringleader.
- Judge sentences Ramona man to 60 days in federal prison in loan scheme
- Judge sentences woman to eight years in heroin case
- Judge sentences Ramona man to four years in prison for bank robberies
- Judge sentences actor’s son to 16 months in prison
- Two sentenced for cultivating marijuana
Short URL: http://www.ramonasentinel.com/?p=11145