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Victims furious that Macomb Co. mom at center of adoption scheme wants sentencing delayed

Posted at 3:40 PM, Oct 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-24 16:00:14-04

(WXYZ) — A Macomb County mother who pleaded guilty in a massive adoption fraud scheme is demanding a new lawyer, which means her sentencing date has been postponed.

In August, Tara Lynn Lee pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud. Originally, a federal grand jury indicted Lee on 23 counts of wire fraud, and 1 count of aggravated identity theft.

FBI agents said the 38-year-old from New Haven promised babies that did not exist and double matched adoptive couples to the same birth moms to bilk those couples from across the country out of thousands of dollars. The feds alleged Lee’s proceeds from adoption work since 2014 totaled more than $2 million.

As part of her plea deal, Lee admitted to causing a loss of more than $250,000 and pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud.

But now, Lee’s lawyer is asking to be removed from her case, which means her Nov. 19, 2019 sentencing date will be delayed. In a motion with the court, Sanford Shulman says Lee “has recently expressed her dissatisfaction with the course of her case.”

Shulman says Lee has asked him to withdraw as her lawyer, and Lee wants Judge Bernard Friedman to appoint a new attorney.

Lee’s victims are furious with the news that her sentencing is now delayed due to the lawyer change request.

“It feels like another excuse, it feels like another possible scam,” said John Crouch, who says he and his wife gave Lee $33,000 to be matched with a birth mom who wasn’t actually pregnant.

“It feels like she’s trying to squirm away from whatever she can, it feels like she’s trying to get away from it-- like an old trick,” said Crouch Thursday.

Lee has been behind bars since March, after the 7 Investigators caught her on video violating the conditions of her bond. She turned down three plea deals before she finally agreed to a deal in August with a sentence of 97-121 months.

Instead of the sentencing on November 19, a hearing has now been set to hear arguments about Lee’s attempt to get rid of her lawyer.