Port Washington couple victims in adoption scam

July 19, 2010 2:25:34 PM PDT
A Florida woman is accused of stealing more than $7,000 from a Port Washington couple who was seeking to adopt her baby. According to Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice, the woman had already promised to give her baby for adoption despite already promising the baby to another couple.

"She used that money for her own financial gain and it just shocks the conscience. It really shocks the conscience," Rice said.

Jessica Dreves, 33, was arraigned Monday morning on a grand jury indictment charging her with Grand Larceny in the Third Degree. September 21.

Rice said that in March 2009, Dreves agreed to give up her baby for adoption to a Massachusetts couple through the Iowa-based adoption agency Abby's One True Gift.

Dreves also answered an advertisement from Lisa and Joseph Weiner of Port Washington who were looking to adopt a baby, Rice said. Dreves, who was due to give birth in October 2009, also agreed to give this couple her baby.

The Weiners sent Dreves more than $7,000 for food, clothing, and rent, but lost contact with her in late September.

When an attorney for the Weiners attempted to locate Dreves, it was discovered that she had an agreement with Abby's One True Gift to give her baby to the Massachusetts couple.

Dreves was eventually located at a hospital in Jacksonville where she had just given birth to a baby girl. When Lisa Weiner called Dreves's hospital room and identified herself, Dreves hung up the phone.

The Weiners were devastated.

"We painted a room, let's put it that way," Joseph Weiner said.

"And we had the car seat ready to go pick up the baby and there was no birth mom," Lisa Weiner said.

The Weiners then filed a complaint with the Port Washington police and Dreves was arrested last February.

Dreves' lawyer insists a birth mother is allowed simply to walk away from an adoption contract without even returning the money.

"If you read the law and learn something about this area of law you'll see, and it's in the contract that you don't have to give the money back. It's a risk that the adoptive parents take," Dreves' lawyer said.

The child is believed to be in the custody of Dreves' mother.

She faces up to three-and-a-half to seven years in prison if convicted. Bail was set in the amount of $5,000 cash or bond. She is due back in court