Second arrested made in adoption scam

Friday, June 17, 2011 - 12:58pm

Bossier Sheriff Larry Deen says another arrest has been made in connection with the adoption scam case involving Heather Hill that broke last month.

Joshua R. Wright, 29, of the 100 block of Oak Haven in Haughton, was arrested Wednesday in Greenville, Texas, after he was wanted on similar charges as Hill in the case that has involved three different families being defrauded in an adoption scheme. He was charged with felony theft, racketeering, money laundering, false statement concerning paternity and extortion.

Wright, Hill’s boyfriend, conspired with Hill, 21, by transporting her to an abortion clinic and paying for the abortion back on Aug. 23, 2010, in an adoption scam that has spread across three states, involving families in Louisiana, Virginia and Kentucky. He is also charged with making a false statement in early November 2010 in which he relinquished paternal rights to the baby as part of the scam, even after he was involved in the abortion process that had taken place three months earlier.

The case began when Bossier Sheriff’s detectives of the special investigations unit determined that Hill and Wright defrauded a family in Denham Springs, La., who had paid $6,800 on 25 different occasions to an adoption agency to adopt Hill’s child. Hill called and texted the family on multiple occasions, threatening to give the baby to another family if they did not pay her more money.

In April 2011, after the supposed birth at LSU Health Sciences Center, Hill told the family and the agency that she no longer wanted to give up her child, something within her legal right to do. The adopting family gave Hill additional funds even after they found out that she was keeping the child. The family was concerned for the welfare of the infant and wanted to make sure that the baby had the necessary supplies.

Hill was supposed to pay the adopting family back the money used to pay for the adoption in the case the mother decided to keep the child. Not only did she not pay the money back, there was no baby, and she was no longer pregnant.

According to medical records, Hill was pregnant as of Aug. 18, 2010. Five days later, she had an abortion at a local women’s clinic, while Wright transported Hill and paid for the abortion. But in mid-October, she went to an adoption agency in Lake Charles to put her unborn child up for adoption, signing the necessary paperwork. Furthermore, Hill was not pregnant when she was incarcerated in December for domestic abuse and possession of marijuana. Medical records also show that she obtained birth control medicine in December and was still not pregnant in April. However, in March she signed a pre-surrender agreement with the adoption agency, showing her intent to have the child and give it up for adoption.

Bossier Sheriff's Department investigators, during the course of their investigation, discovered that the family in Denham Springs was not Hill's only victim. Two more families outside of Louisiana - one from Virginia and one from Kentucky – were identified earlier this month in the case.

Hill apparently attempted to adopt her aborted baby to the family in Denham Springs as well as another family in Kentucky. However, the family out of Virginia was to adopt another child of Hill's, a baby girl by the name of Aaliyah Lashay Hill. The victims in Virginia flew here, met Hill and the baby during the adoption process. The adoption fell through, but investigators were unable to locate baby Aaliyah as of two weeks ago. Bossier detectives conducted extensive research and ultimately found the law firm that handled the adoption case of Aaliyah and found she is safe and was legally adopted by another family. The family in Virginia, however, had paid an adoption agency $27,000 for Aaliyah. They have since received about $12,000 of that money back.

Wright was transported to the Bossier Maximum Security Facility and booked. His bond is set at $240,000. Hill was arrested earlier this month and remains incarcerated with bond set at $180,000.

From Bossier Sheriff's Office
 

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