Macomb County woman sentenced to 10 years for child adoption scheme

Tara Lynn Lee was sentenced to more than 10 years for her part in a scheme to take money from couples who wanted to adopt children.

Lynn was sentenced to 121 months - which was the maximum sentence based on the guidelines according to Judge Bernard Friedman, who said the Macomb County woman deserved life for what she had done.

Lee tearfully begged for mercy in court, saying her children won't have their mother around. She also said that she "didn't realize what (she) had become," and that she used shopping to fill a void.

Judge Friedman called her evil and included three year supervised release, adding if there is a probation violation, she will go back to prison.

Also part of the sentencing, Lee must pay restitution of $1, 017,000. She also must read out loud every victim statement during her free time in jail - and that has to be done by June.

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In the scheme, there were never children to adopt and couple anxious to adopt babies were left emptying their wallets leading to the FBI probe.

Federal prosecutors say Lee, of New Haven, wasn't licensed to arrange adoptions. Investigators say she at times matched more than one set of adoptive parents to a birth mother. She also matched couples to birth mothers who didn't exist.

"My family was destroyed for nothing more than money," said one victim, Suzan, outside court. "I have been traumatized, it is like soul rape."

Suzan is one of many who say they were wrapped up in the lies - an elaborate adoption scheme run by  Lee, which included biological mothers and fathers who didn't want to give up their children. 

Suzan like so many new moms was vulnerable and taken advantage of, right after she had delivered her baby calling Lee a glorified human baby broker.

She said 46 hours after having her baby, it was taken from her in exchange for paperwork to be adopted out to someone else without her permission.

Lee is also accused of trying to match parents with babies that didn't even exist and with women who weren't even pregnant.

Prosecutors say Lee fraudulently made $2 million from families. She operated in Michigan under the name Always Hope Pregnancy Center, but she had no license and no right to do anything she was doing. Dozens of parents taken advantage of, many parents coming from across the country.

In her plea agreement Tuesday, Lee admitted collecting at least $250,000 since 2014. In 2018, Lee told a client that a birth mother named RaShaunda had been shot and killed and the baby had died. But RaShaunda didn't exist. Lee could face eight years or more in prison when she returns to Detroit federal court on Nov. 19.

-The Associated Press contributed to this report