Daily Briefs

Michigan woman pleads guilty in adoption scheme

NEW HAVEN, Mich. (AP) — A southeastern Michigan woman has pleaded guilty to fraud in a scheme to collect more than $260,000 from couples who wanted to adopt children.

Tara Lee of New Haven wasn’t licensed to arrange adoptions. Prosecutors said she sometimes matched more than one set of adoptive parents to a birth mother and also matched couples to phony birth mothers.
Lee, for example, admits that in June 2018 she told a client that a birth mother named RaShaunda had been shot and killed and the baby had died.

“This was false. Lee made up this story because RaShaunda did not exist,” according to a plea agreement signed by Lee. The woman had paid $15,000 by credit card.

In another case, a couple traveled from Colorado last year but was told that an adoption suddenly had failed because the birth mother had backed out. Another couple was told the same thing. Lee had collected $39,000 from them.

Lee, 38, pleaded guilty Tuesday. She could face eight years or more in prison when she returns to federal court on Nov. 19.

“This is a terrible scam of parents who simply want to make our world better by adopting a child,” the FBI said when Lee was indicted in March.

Prosecutors have also charged Enhelica Wiggins. Investigators said she impersonated birth mothers during conversations with adoptive parents and got payments from Lee. She has pleaded not guilty.


Clark Hill’s Sexton named to Legal Marketing Association’s board of directors

The Legal Marketing Association, which represents more than 4,000 legal marketing and business development professionals in 48 U.S. states, Canada and 25 other countries, has announced its anticipated 2020 board of directors. The slate of candidates for the 2020 board of directors was ratified on August 7, 2019. The newly elected and continuing officers and directors will begin their terms on January 1, 2020,
Roy Sexton, director of marketing for Clark Hill was named treasurer-elect.

Sexton has nearly 20 years of experience in marketing, communications, business development, and strategic planning, having worked at Deloitte Consulting, Oakwood Healthcare (now Beaumont), Trott Law (formerly Trott & Trott), St. Joseph Mercy Health System, and Kerr Russell, PLC. He has been heavily involved regionally and nationally in the Legal Marketing Association as a board member, content expert, and presenter. Sexton was named a Michigan Lawyers Weekly “Unsung Legal Hero” in 2018.