Employees of IAG were indicted for allegedly conspiring to defraud the United States in connection with IAG’s adoption services in Ethiopia.
IAG is an adoption agency with a program in Ethiopia. It is Hague Accredited. The scheme allegedly involved, among other things, paying orphanages to “sign off” on contracts of adoption with the adopting parents as if the children had been raised by those orphanages — even though the children had never resided in those orphanages and had not been cared for or raised there. These orphanages could not, therefore, properly offer these children up for adoption. The Ethiopian Courts, relying on these documents, issued adoption decrees which were then used to obtain immigrant visas to the United States. This has been going on for 5 years.
The charge of conspiring to defraud the United States carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of the greater of $250,000 or twice the value gained or lost. The charges contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
My first prediction: AIG employees will say they had no idea what was going on in Ethiopia and blame their Ethiopian counterparts.
My second prediction: People are going to jail.
Here’s the best write up I could find on what happened:
What can we learn from this?
- Adoption agencies: Hire an experienced immigration law as a consultant before you consider starting an overseas program. Yes, I think I can tell you how to do your job, especially if you are not doing it right.
- Adoptive parents: Never agree to put a child who is not an orphan into an orphanage in the hope that the State Department will consider the child an orphan. Talk to an immigration lawyer instead.
- IAG adoptive parents: Contact a lawyer who is experienced in immigration and adoption matters to see if anything can be done to salvage your case.