NY woman pleads guilty in adoption scam

May 20, 2008 4:31:37 PM PDT
A woman accused of raking in more than $1 million in subsidies for adopting 11 disabled children while beating and starving them in her Florida home has pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges. Judith Leekin admitted Tuesday that she used false names to adopt the children and sent officials a phony report card documenting a child's progress.

She did not make any admissions in the abuse case, which continues in Florida. She has pleaded not guilty.

The 63-year-old Leekin faces a potential 6½-to-8-year prison term on the federal mail and wire fraud charges. She has agreed to forfeit $1.68 million in subsidies collected over nearly two decades. Her sentencing is set for July 15.

Leekin adopted the children in New York City. They moved to Florida in 1998.