TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A warning to anyone looking to adopt after a Tampa Bay couple sent money to a woman in hopes of adopting her unborn child.
For the second time in a week, deputies have arrested a woman they say took money from hopeful parents and never delivered after delivering.
For Greg Garbee and his wife, having a child was the one thing they needed to complete their family. Having exhausted their options with conceiving on their own, they turned to an adoption lawyer and social worker to find them a mother looking to adopt her baby.
“When we were matched it was two days before Christmas, and I can’t think of a better gift. We were ecstatic,” says Garbee.
They were chosen by Angelica Lopez.
“The very first meeting she seemed very sweet,” Garbee remembers.
The pregnant 30-year-old was in the Pinellas County Jail at the time, and signed a pre-birth agreement to let the Garbee family adopt her child.
“We met Angelica several times. We visited her in jail while she was there, and once she got out we still met up with her. We had lunches and things,” says Garbee.
April 4, Lopez had her baby. Pinellas County Sheriff’s investigators say she never told the Garbee’s. When they asked her two weeks later how she was doing she sent back pictures of her large belly and swollen feet. They finally learned the baby had been born weeks earlier and Lopez cashed over a thousand dollars’ worth of checks.
“That was gut-wrenching. It was the hardest thing personally either one of us have ever gone through,” says Garbee.
Sometime later the Garbees matched with another woman and adopted a beautiful baby boy. Finally completing the family they wanted.
Lopez is facing one felony count of adoption deception.
Another woman accused of scamming a Nebraska couple was arrested earlier this week.
Deputies say both women happened to be locked up at the Pinellas County Jail when they agreed to have their children adopted.