Domestic Adoption Fraud in Florida UPDATED
“Kenyeta Tondorria Murray, 26, was arrested Monday morning for allegedly taking more than $15,000 from two parties that she had agreed to give her newborn baby to in an adoption agreement.
In a State Attorney’s Office investigation, it was found that in January 2011, Murray allegedly entered into an agreement for the adoption of her unborn child with an adoption agency. In March, 2011, Murray is accused of entering into another agreement for the same child with a different adoptive family.
The law does not allow an individual to collect money from more than one adoption entity at the same time without disclosing the existence of the other party.
Murry is currently being held in the Duval County Jail and was charged with adoption fraud and grand theft.”
[Action News Jax 7/9/12]
REFORM Puzzle Piece
Update: “A healthy baby girl was born inJacksonville, and two families were waiting to take her home.
Prosecutors say Kenyetta Murray used her child to steal from those couples instead.
“We named her Elise Desiree and we pray for her every night.”
Brook Wesley and her husband Mike never met the baby girl they already thought of as their own. They never got the chance. “Now looking back I don’t understand how anyone can be that cold to do that,” Brook told Action News. “ Not just to us, but to children.”
The Wesley’s signed an adoption agreement withMurrayand paid for her living expenses. What they didn’t know was thatMurrayhad already agreed to place her child with another family, and had been taking money from them for months.
Glenda Carr, Executive Director of Bundle of Hope Ministries, represented the second couple. Neither family knew of the other, until the hospital called. “The social worker called us to say ‘we’ve received a letter from you and also have notification from another attorney.’” Carr said.
Panicked calls to Kenyetta went unanswered, until days later, when she couldn’t hide from the truth anymore. Prosecutors say Murray, a mother of 5 children already, never intended to place her baby girl for adoption.
Murraywas arrested and charged with adoption fraud. The families were left with broken hearts. “I hated Kenyetta for a long time, that baby was mine. I truly felt that in my heart she was mine.” said Brook. She and her husband moved toTennesseeto start over. They now have three children, but everyday, they think about the baby girl they left behind.
The little girl is now 16 months old, she along withMurray’s five other children, live with their maternal grandmother.
Murray plead guilty to grand theft and adoption fraud, she’s set to be sentenced November 14th and faces 10 years in prison.”
[Action News Jax 11/14/12 by Paige Kelton]
“Alfredia Murray has yet to accept the fact that her daughter has been sentenced to three years in state prison.
“She changed her mind,” said Murray, “There’s nothing saying you can’t change your mind.”
Alfredia Murray is talking about her daughter, Kenyeta Murray.
“I kept telling her ‘don’t give up the baby for adoption,’” she said.
Kenyeta Murray did not and now she has been convicted on two charges of grand theft and one count of adoption fraud.
“I never thought in my wildest dreams they would put her in jail for changing her mind,” said her mother.[She pled GUILTY.]
Kenyeta Murray is a mother of six. The family said she has placed a child up for adoption before, but this time she didn’t.
Prosecutors told the court that Murray was paid $894 by an adoption agency and $3,100 by a another couple for the same unborn child before she changed her mind.
“It is not justice, it is a tragedy,” said Murray, “This is a civil issue and it is not criminal.
Now the family has the responsibility of Kenyeta Murray’s six children while she serves her time in Florida State Prison.
Tyneshia Maple, Kenyeta’s sister, mother of seven, now has to help.
“I work,” said Maple, “Just imagine if you have 13 kids in your home that you have to buy Christmas for.”
“There’s nothing like seeing your mom, nothing like hugging your mom, nothing like kissing her,” added Maple.
The Murray family said the prison sentence handed down by Judge Virginia Norton was too harsh. House arrest would have been more merciful and compassionate.
“Kenyeta is going to suffer,” said Maple, “but at the end of the day, Kenyeta’s kids are going to suffer the most because they need their mom.”
Judge Norton called Murray a “danger to the public” before sentencing her to Florida State Prison.
Murray’s attorney Sandra Suarez-Hernandez told the family they will appeal.
Bundles of Hope represented one of the families expecting to adopt Murray’s baby.
President Glenda Carr said “justice has been served.”
Carr said it is not about the money, it is about the children and there are a lot of broken hearts.
Murray, who has been in the Duval County Jail for the past 129 days, will begin her prison sentence immediately. ”
[First Coast News 11/15/12 by Ken Amaro]