(WXYZ) — It was a nationwide adoption fraud scheme first exposed by the 7 Investigators. Now, one of the women who posed as a pregnant woman looking to adopt out a baby that didn’t exist has learned her fate in federal court.
On Wednesday morning, Judge Bernard Friedman sentenced Enhelica Wiggins to 21 months behind bars, with three years of supervised release. Wiggins was also ordered to pay $106,000 in restitution.
Wiggins pleaded guilty in October to one count of federal wire fraud.
Wiggins co-defendant, Tara Lynn Lee, has pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud. The 38-year-old from New Haven is expected to be sentenced later this month.
Federal prosecutors say Lee took more than $1.6 million from couples around the country who wanted to adopt babies.
Instead, feds say Lee promised them babies that did not exist, or double-matched babies to couples who were paying tens of thousands of dollars to be “matched” with expectant moms.
Federal court records show “Wiggins participated in and furthered Lee’s scheme by telling Lee that various women were pregnant and interested in placing their child into adoption. Wiggins and Lee did not verify that these women were pregnant or confirm they were interested in adoption. Instead, Wiggins requested and received payment from Lee in exchange for these ‘referrals,’ and Lee matched the allegedly pregnant women with prospective adoptive families.”
Wiggins, 29, most recently lived in Saginaw.
A couple from Fraser had given Lee $33,000 to be matched with Wiggins, but later learned Wiggins was never pregnant.
John Crouch told 7 Action News he’s happy Judge Friedman gave Wiggins the maximum amount of time allowed in prison, as well as three years of close monitoring by the feds once she gets out.
Happy she got the max within the guidelines and that they’ll hold her accountable for 3 years after
“Absolutely relieved. It closes the book on it. It’s done,” said Crouch. “I feel like justice was served.”
Crouch said he hopes Wiggins will get the help that she needs in prison, for the sake of her children.