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What might constitute fraud in an adoption?

Adopting a child or giving one up for adoption are clearly matters that have to do with Minnesota family law. However, most states don't have statutes specifically outlawing fraud in adoption.

That does not mean that fraud isn't taken seriously. What it does mean is that unless there are specific statutes that apply, most cases of alleged adoption fraud tend to be handled under the aegis of the criminal court system. Because of the complexities that can be associated with adoption generally and concerns that could surface when fraud is suspected, it makes sense to learn what laws apply.

One situation in which allegations of fraud might be leveled against an adoptive couple might be in a case of an unfulfilled promise. For example, if adoptive parents pledge to adopt a child from a pregnant woman and then cut off all contact with her after terms are finalized, a fraud charge might follow.

More typically, however, the claims of fraud come from the adoptive parents. Targets of such claims might be adoption agencies, facilitators of the process, or the child's birth mother. Usually the allegation is that the perpetrator scammed the parents, deceiving them for the purposes of financial or personal gain.

Experts in this area of law know there are certain warning signs that fraud may be being attempted. These are not sure indicators of wrongdoing but should prompt more thorough research before any adoption is finalized or money is spent. The red flags could include:

  • Being pressured to sign something you don't fully understand
  • The sudden unavailability by phone or email of involved parties
  • Referencing the child as "yours" before the legal process is complete
  • Unsolicited approaches from an agency or facilitator about possible adoption
  • A purported birthmother pressing the issue of covering expenses

With something as important and sensitive as adoption, it's important to avoid possible fraud scenarios and that is best done by speaking with a qualified attorney to learn your rights and options.

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