Thursday, September 18, 2014

Texas Woman Pleads Guilty In Federal Adoption Fraud Case in Kansas

U.S. Department of Justice

KANSAS CITY, KAN. – A Texas woman pleaded guilty Wednesday to defrauding four families that wanted to adopt children, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom

Chrystal Marie Rippey, 34, Marshall, Texas, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud. In her plea, she admitted she devised a scheme in which she pretended to be pregnant. She contacted adoption agencies and individuals who wanted to adopt and said she was willing to give up her unborn children for adoption. She asked adoption agencies and individuals for money for rent, utilities, food and living expenses.

Couple No. 1: A Delaware couple moved Rippey into their home for a month. They took her on a two-week vacation on the beach and paid for her living expenses, new clothes, cell phone and food. She gave them a sonogram that she claimed showed her pregnancy with twins. In fact, she got the image from the Internet. Then she broke off contact with them.

Couple No. 2: A couple from Shawnee, Kan., put more than $22,000 in an escrow account to pay for Rippey’s living expenses. She told them false stories about her troubles with Child Protective Services and a fire that burned down the home of the birth father in order to get the couple to give her more money. Then she broke off contact with them.

Couple 3: Working with an adoption agency in Overland Park, Kan., Rippey contacted another couple that began providing support for her. They were shocked when they went to California to meet her and saw that she didn’t look pregnant.

Couple 4: Another couple ran up expenses for fees to an adoption agency in Texas as well as travel expenses in hopes of adopting twins from Rippey. Rippey claimed she had a son in the hospital and that she had not eaten in days in order to get money from the couple. But the couple refused her request because the adoption agency told them not to give her any money until she completed adoption paperwork.

Sentencing will be set for a later date. Both parties have agreed to recommend a sentence of 31 months followed by three years supervised release.

Grissom commended the Overland Park Police Department, the U.S. Secret Service and Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Oakley for their work on the case.