San Diego based company Conceptual Options has helped many parents who want babies, find surrogate mothers. Now one of the company's owners has been exposed. Tony Shin reports.
An attorney who admitted to authorities that she was part of a black market baby-selling ring is now asking people to withhold judgment until she can tell her side of the story.
"I have never taken advantage of parents, children, donors or surrogates who otherwise would remain vulnerable to the underbelly of this industry," reads a post left on Theresa Erickson's Facebook page Tuesday.
Erickson, 43, and her conspirators created an inventory of infants by impregnating women overseas and selling the babies for $100,000 each, U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy said Tuesday.
"Remember, any story can be spun and manipulated to make a story salacious," the Facebook post continued. "Yet know from the bottom of my heart that I have done the right things to protect some children from otherwise disastrous outcomes."
Erickson offered her baby inventory to unsuspecting parents, claiming the babies would be born from a surrogate mother but the original parents had backed out of the arrangement.
"The scam was essentially arranging for women to go overseas be implanted with embryos, come back to the U.S. and if they carried the babies into a viable pregnancy, then the conspirators would start selling the unborn babies," said Jason Forge, Assistant U.S. Attorney.
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, prosecutors said.
Once the papers were filed the court, Erickson would then add the names of the parents who had purchased the child.
Erickson also submitted claims to the State of California's Access for Infants and Mothers program to pay for the children's delivery.
Co-conspirators and Carla Chambers and Hilary Neiman already pleaded guilty to fraud and conspiracy charges.
Prosecutors say between 2005 and March of this year, the women sold at least 12 babies.
"I respectfully request that those who know me for who I am (and even those who do not) please wait to judge until I am able to share the real story, my story," Erickson posted Tuesday at 10:32 p.m.
Erickson faces a maximum fine of $250,000 and up to five years in prison when she's sentenced on Oct. 28.