Prison Sentence for Attorney in Black-Market Baby Selling Ring

Hilary Neiman worked with Poway attorney Theresa Erickson and others to sell the babies for $100,000 each

By R. Stickney
|  Friday, Dec 2, 2011  |  Updated 1:20 PM PDT
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Attorney Guilty in Baby Selling Ring

Brandi Powell

Hilary Neiman was captured leaving the downtown courthouse on Thursday, Dec. 2.

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Attorney Guilty in Baby Selling Ring

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One of the women who ran an international baby-selling ring will spend a year in prison.

Maryland attorney Hilary Neiman admitted she and other attorneys including one from Poway solicited women to go to the Ukraine to get embyros implanted. The defendants then arranged surrogate mothers with intended parents through an illegal contract.

Hilary Neiman worked with Poway attorney Theresa Erickson, 43, and other conspirators to sell the babies for $100,000 each, U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy said.

The ring targeted unsuspecting parents, claiming the babies were available because the original family had backed out of the arrangement.

One of the surrogates, a San Diego woman who asked to be identified only as Heather, explained what happened after she realized there was no family waiting for the child she was carrying.

"I felt trapped what can I do now, I'm pregnant, it's not like I can just back out and decide not to work with them," she told NBCSanDiego.

As part of her sentence, Neiman will spend 12 months in prison and must pay $20,000 in restitution for the victims. She has already forfeited more than $100,000 to the government.

The final restitution amount to victims of the ring will be decided in March.

In August, Erickson admitted to submitting false documents to the San Diego Superior Court, which stated the unborn babies were the products of a legitimate surrogacy arrangement, Duffy said.

Once the papers were filed the court, Duffy said Erickson would then add the names of the parents who had purchased the child.

The ring also requested money from state programs to pay hospital fees. 

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