WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A Carolina Beach woman has pleaded guilty to charges related to a nationwide adoption scam.
The District Attorney’s Office says Wendy George, 39, pleaded guilty in New Hanover Superior Court Friday to 10 counts of obtaining property by false pretenses, one count of felony accessing a computer to perpetuate a fraud and one count of Medicaid fraud. Judge Andrew Heath sentenced her to 50-64 months in prison. The Court also sentenced her to an additional 22-37 months, which was suspended for three years of supervised probation.
Prosecutors say beginning in November 2016, George posted on several social media and adoption websites that she was pregnant and wanted to put her child up for adoption. But they say George was not pregnant.
People from across the country responded to George’s post about the possibility of adopting her child. She then engaged in lengthy discussions with these people and asked them to send her money for food, doctors’ appointments and housing needs.
The DA’s Office says George got a positive pregnancy test using the urine of a pregnant friend and obtained Medicaid benefits from the Department of Social Services. She also
paid her pregnant friend $20 to get an ultrasound in George’s name so she could send the images to the victims to prove that she was in fact pregnant.
In February 2017, a couple from Ohio called the Carolina Beach Police Department to report the scam after they gave her several hundred dollars for food and rent.
After this initial report to law enforcement and the defendant’s arrest later that month, an investigation by the Carolina Beach Police Department revealed at least 16 other people who had also claimed George had scammed them during.
At the time George was on probation for selling a Schedule I controlled substance.
She was also convicted of 16 counts of obtaining property by false pretenses in 2012 in New Hanover County. Investigators in that case said George and her husband rented out condos and collected money before the guests arrived. When folks got there, they realized something was wrong when they couldn’t get into the building, or in the case of an address at Wrightsville Beach, they realized what they paid for was an empty lot.