Arrest in international adoption scam

March 9, 2009 6:37:14 AM PDT
A fugitive suspected in an international internet adoption scam is nabbed and is back in custody. Eyewitness News has followed this story for more than three years. Dozens of families, many in our area, claim they were promised children by an international agency only to have their dreams dashed.

Now, some closure for families who put their trust into an international adoption agency only to face devastating emotional and financial heartbreak.

This is also a story about the power of sharing personal stories on the internet, because ultimately that is what brought this suspected scam down.

Thursday night, fugitive suspect Orson Mozes arrived back in California, but he won't be returning anytime soon to his multi-million dollar Santa Barbara estate.The onetime head of an international adoption agency called Adoption International Program is now being held on one milllion dollars bond, accused of bilking more than 60 families out of millions of dollars.

"I'm innocent," said Orson Mozes.

Eyewitness News reporter Sarah Wallace: "When you see this what do you think?"
"It's infuriating," said Ann Young.

We invited Ann and Chris Young of Calverton, Long Island, to watch the video of Mozes' arrest.They're one of the families he's accused of ripping off.

"It's all part of the M.O., it''s all part of the con," Ann said. "We just want to make sure he doesn't hurt anyone else," Chris said.

The Youngs say Mozes promised them a child from Kazakhstan, the girl's photo posted on the internet but before they left for Eastern Europe, Ann read another family's blog showing their new baby.

Wallace: "You notice on a blog that someone else is showing your baby?"
Ann: " Another family who is with AIP. It's devastating, it's emotional devastating."

Mozes is accused of offering the same child to different families in several cases. We talked to families all over the country, many paid thousands of dollars and never got a baby.

His scheme began unraveling when parents started sharing their horror stories on the internet.

"The internet made us so close, it allowed us to network together," said Ann.

During our investigation in the summer of 2007 Mozes fled and remained underground until December when Florida authorities arrested him on minor charges. He'd used several aliases.

For Ann and Chris Young, this story of heartbreak has a heartwarming ending.They went to Kazakhstan anyway, and came home with a beautiful girl Leah, now three who joins the couple's biological son, Chris Jr.

"When they walked in we had no idea she would be available," said Ann. "I want to support international adoption, but agencies should know that if they do something immoral or illegal, it will not be tolerated...he is evil. He is evil and greed took over."

Mozes is scheduled to be arraigned in court on Monday. He says he's broke, so it's unlikely he'll be able to come up with the million dollars bail.