Police investigate adoption scam

(WISH Photo, file)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Adoption lawyers are warning prospective parents to be extra vigilant.

That’s because the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office said a woman recently scammed a couple out of thousands of dollars.

Michelle Greenberg, 43, faces forgery and obstruction of justice charges.

According to the probable cause affidavit, Greenberg connected a couple with an expectant mother. But it turned out there wasn’t one.

24-Hour News 8 talked with a woman Wednesday who nearly became of a victim of a similar scam. A mother and daughters bond; it’s these moments with her little girl that Kate Miller won’t ever take for granted.

“Just knowing that she’s here and that she’s ours and knowing what we went through to bring her home,” she said.

Her daughter, Penelope joined family nearly two years ago.

It was an adoption success story, something one couple in Indiana unfortunately couldn’t share.

According to investigators, Greenberg is the reason why. The affidavit states she convinced a couple to pay $13,000 for an adoption, $5,000 of which went in her pocket.

But when the baby was born, Greenberg said the mother had a change of heart and wanted to keep her. The affidavit states the couple never had a chance to meet the mother, and the checks had already been cashed.

“It makes me feel so sad and it makes my heart break for that family because I know what they’re going through on a daily basis,” Miller said.

The family started asking questions, even doubting there was an expectant mother.

Investigators started digging, and discovered Greenberg tried paying a woman to pretend she was the birth mom that kept her child. The affidavit states Greenberg offered the woman $2,000 to play along.

“Unfortunately in the adoption world there are unscrupulous people,” said Steve Kirsh. He’s been an adoption attorney for 30 years. He knows scammers are out there, especially since one targeted him and his client, Miller.

“She was kind of dragging her feet with getting them her medical information,” Miller said.

“In our process of exploring her background trying to obtain prenatal records for her for the family, we discovered that she was not even a real person. The name she gave was from a dead person,” Kirsh said.

“The adoption community in Indiana is relatively small. It’s not hard to figure out who’s doing good a job and who’s not. It’s just a matter of asking some questions and doing some research,” he said.

Here are a few “red flags” Kirsh says prospective parents should look out for: Watch out for adoption coordinators that ask for a lot of money up front and try to rush the process along. Typical adoptions take several months, not just a few weeks to process. Kirsh also says to only talk directly with an attorney and their legal assistant

24-Hour News 8 did talk to Greenberg Wednesda. She denies any wrongdoing. She also declined an on-camera interview until she talks with her attorneys.

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