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Another Adoption Fraud

Directors charged with defrauding adoption agency of $420,000
Source: The Globe and Mail

The founder and general manager of an international adoption agency are accused of defrauding the agency of hundreds of thousands of dollars almost two years after trustees first found “questionable” spending in its records. Cambridge, Ont.-based Imagine Adoption, which matched up Canadians with orphans from Ghana and Ethiopia, declared bankruptcy in July, 2009, leaving hundreds of families in adoption limbo. Now, the agency’s founder, Susan Hayhow, and its general manager, Rick Hayhow, are charged with breach of trust and multiple counts of fraud, totalling more than $420,000.

Police allege the frauds took place between January, 2007 and the agency’s bankruptcy declaration. During that time, police say, money paid for adoption services was spent on international vacations, renovations to the couple’s shared home in Cambridge, food and clothing. The charges are cold comfort to the families, many of whom have moved on or tried to adopt through other avenues. But it raises questions about how an agency involved in the increasingly lucrative business of international adoptions, whose license was renewed multiple times by the Ontario government, could have operated for so long with its financial irregularities unnoticed. International adoption has become a multi-billion-dollar global industry; children’s advocates argue it’s under-regulated and ripe for abuse. More here.