Theresa Erickson was sentenced to 5-months in federal prison. She tells NBC 7's Rory Devine the hardest thing about being convicted in an international black market baby selling ring was to look victims in the eye and hear their stories.
The attorney sentenced for her involvement in an international baby-selling ring says she now feels nothing but regret for the pain she caused her victims.
The once highly-respected Poway attorney Theresa Erickson submitted false documents to San Diego Superior Court stating the babies were the products of legitimate surrogacy arrangements.
Once the papers were filed, Erickson would then add the names of the parents who had purchased the child. Parents paid $100,000 and were told the babies were available because other families had backed out of the arrangements.
In an exclusive interview witih NBC 7 San Diego, Erickson described what happened that made her lose her way, and what she hopes to do to make things right for her victims.
"I made it clear in court, my judgment somehow became clouded," Erickson said. "I told the judge whether it was ego, whether it was a moral crusade, no matter what it was I somehow lost my way and failed to stop these things from happening."
Erickson was sentenced Friday to 14 months overall, with five months spent in prison. The remaining nine will be spent in home confinement.
At the sentencing, the judge said he was moved by her presentation in court, and had originally planned to giver her a harsher sentence. But he believed she was sorry and more than agreed to her plea deal.
However, regardless of the sentence, Erickson said the most difficult realization for her was the damage she did to the victims in the case.
The operation requested money from state programs to pay hospital fees for the women who were purposefully made pregnant for profit.
"The sentencing was tough," she said. "The resigning was tough, telling my family and going to my husband and having to tell him, telling my children was tough. But the hardest thing was to look at those victims in the eye and hear them tell me what they went through."
"That was truly the hardest, and I mean that from my heart."