Agents Search Alleged Adoption Scam Home

Friday, June 3rd 2011, 11:26 pm
By: News 9

Dana Hertneky, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Federal agents converged on a southwest Oklahoma City home Friday afternoon. Agents say the action is in relation to a huge adoption scam News 9 first reported Thursday.

According to court documents, Serena Mathews and Scott Smith are charged with scamming at least six victims out of tens of thousands of dollars. Prosecutors say Mathews told the victims she was pregnant and wanted to put her child up for adoption. The victims then paid for her living expenses believing she would let them adopt her baby.

Court papers say Mathews used no less than a dozen aliases to commit the fraud.

The FBI is now involved because they suspect wire and mail fraud, which are federal offenses.

Agents swarmed the home at precisely 3 o'clock Friday afternoon.

"I looked through the window when we were packing and I was moving the TV and saw the FBI walking up," said Storm Sanders who was at the home at the time agents arrived.

Agents executing a federal search warrant swept the house looking for evidence of more victims and more suspects.

"They took a computer monitor and my broken cell phone," said Sanders.

"We are attempting to gather items such as computers and other items that reveal the full scope of the potential fraud," said Agent Clay Simmonds of the FBI.

According to court papers, Serena Mathews, Angela Wilkerson and another woman, Laura Cossey, all scammed prospective parents and, with the help of Scott Smith, collected living expenses from victims hoping to adopt their babies.

One victim paid more than $30,000 for rent and utilities on Mathews's home.

That's in addition to the emotional victimization.

One woman who works for an adoption agency told us one couple she was working with found out they weren't getting the baby after they had traveled to Oklahoma City to get it.

"It was an emotional roller coaster the whole entire pregnancy," said Rebecca Martin.

The Oklahoma City Police investigator on the case said the "number of victims is continuing to grow and the dollar amount of the fraud will be astronomical." Right now investigators say there were at least 20 different victims.

And now federal agents said they're hoping what they found inside this home will give them a better idea of how far reaching this crime is.

Martin says she knows of victims of this scam from Pennsylvania, Texas and Missouri.