Roxanne Janel Jones is a convicted con artist, and her scam is to pretend she's pregnant with twins and offer the babies to couples who want to adopt, in exchange for money and gifts (video below).
In 2011, she pleaded guilty in a Kansas court to wire fraud, mail fraud and identity theft, all in relation to her adoption scam.
In her plea, she admitting contacting adoption agencies, meeting couples who wanted to adopt, and asking the couples for money for rent and other living expenses. She confessed to swindling 14 couples.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office gave out some details. One couple wired $16,265 to an escrow account to be used for Jones’ care during the pregnancy. Another couple sent her $2,400 in gift cards and rent money. Another bought her massages, a haircut, groceries and meals. Another sent her MoneyGrams in the amount of $830. One couple gave $1,000 to an adoption agency, which in turn gave $500 to Jones. And so on.
One of the victimized couples was Holly and Mark Gonzales, who opted for adoption after four years of trying to get pregnant.
The Gonzaleses found a woman named Kristy Bennett who was pregnant with twin girls, couldn’t afford to raise them, and wanted Holly and Mark to be the parents. But Kristy turned out to be Roxanne Janel Jones.
CBS News Chief Investigative Correspondent Armen Keteyian went undercover and caught Jones in the act. Keteyian and his team met Jones in a hotel room wired with hidden cameras, recorded the proceedings, and it was aired on various CBS news programs.
Adoption expert Adam Pertman, executive director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, offers a few simple tips to avoid such scams:
- Educate yourself
- Use a reputable adoption agency
- Be skeptical of any deal that seems to good to be true
Despite being swindled in their first attempt at adoption, the Gonzaleses have continued to seek a viable adoption.