An Oklahoma City woman who duped adoption agencies, adoption law firms, and prospective adoptive parents out of thousands of dollars has been sentenced to federal prison on fraud charges. Shelly Renee Henson, 40, was convicted on multiple fraud charges in connection with an adoption scheme that robbed prospective adoptive parents of their money and their hopes for a baby. She was indicted last year on 18 counts of mail fraud, wire fraud, and misuse of a social security number. In January of this year, she pleaded guilty.The U.S. Department of Justice accused Henson of posing as a pregnant woman, despite having had a tubal ligation to prevent pregnancy. She approached adoption agencies and law firms saying she wished to place her unborn child for adoption. In order to perpetrate the scheme, she gave false information on birth mother application forms, providing false personal information, dates of conception, and names of birth fathers. Additionally, she forged and altered medical records including sonograms, lab tests, blood work, and pregnancy verification. When an agency matched her with prospective parents, she would initiate contact with them, getting them to pay for personal expenses, rent, and other living expenses.She communicated with the prospective adoptive parents throughout the course of her alleged "pregnancies," even requesting the presence of the adoptive mothers at her deliveries, despite knowing there would be no delivery. According to the U.S. Department of Justice website for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Oklahoma:"On one occasion, Henson engaged in a lengthy relationship with the prospective adoptive mother, meeting on one occasion, and exchanging approximately 800 text messages over a five-month period. Henson continued to communicate with this prospective adoptive mother up to the day she had falsely claimed she was being induced in Oklahoma City, knowing that this family had traveled from Kansas to Oklahoma City to be present during the delivery."For the victim's of Henson's fraud, the financial loss is likely much less damaging than the emotional toll of believing they were to have a child and having that dream taken away without warning.United States District Judge Stephen P. Friot sentenced Henson to 60 months (5 years) in prison followed by 3 years of supervised release. In addition, she must pay $49,361.47 in restitution to the victims of her scheme.Shelly Henson has previous convictions for fraud and drug crimes. In 2009, she was given 5 year deferred sentences for drug possession, forgery, and fake ID. She was admitted to the Oklahoma County Drug Court in 2010 for possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) and second degree forgery.
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