Woman Sentenced for 'the Bottom, Bottom, Bottom Lowest Thing'

Michigan defendant faked pregnancy and took money from couples wanting a child
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 12, 2020 6:55 PM CST
Woman Who Faked Pregnancies in Adoption Fraud Scam Sentenced
Stock photo   (Getty/upixa)

A Michigan woman who broke the hearts and emptied the wallets of couples eager to adopt babies was sentenced to 21 months in prison Wednesday after acknowledging that she faked her own pregnancy and committed other acts of deception. There were no children to adopt, the AP reports. In one case, Enhelica Wiggins told a couple to meet her at a hospital in Alma, Michigan, where she would give birth by cesarean section. She saw them in the parking lot but drove off. "This one screams for punishment," US District Judge Bernard Friedman told Wiggins. The judge called it an "egregious" case—the "bottom, bottom, bottom lowest thing." Wiggins, 29, of Saginaw County pleaded guilty to wire fraud and was sentenced at the top of the guidelines. The leader of the scam, Tara Lee, faces a longer sentence March 26. Wiggins and Lee tricked couples into believing they could arrange adoptions by connecting them to pregnant women. Wiggins sometimes posed as a birth mother on three-way calls.

Wiggins' conduct was fueled by a drug addiction, her attorney said. "I'm so sorry. I feel horrible," Wiggins said, turning to John Crouch, a victim. Crouch, 42, told the judge that he and his wife longed to become parents but "were being led around like stray puppies" by Wiggins. Outside court, Crouch said the tipping point came in the parking lot of the Alma hospital last year. He said Wiggins, who will have to pay restitution to victims, promised to return to give birth after taking her kids to a relative's house. She didn't return. Crouch and his wife paid $63,000, according to court documents. "They always thought they were on the brink of becoming parents," a prosecutor said said of the victims. "To call it excruciating is an understatement."

(Read more adoption stories.)

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