Taxpayers Paying Costs Linked To Baby-Selling Operation
Local Attorney Theresa Erickson Pleaded Guilty To Role In Baby-Selling Ring
7:31 AM, Aug 11, 2011
A local attorney's baby-selling operation has led to millions of dollars in costs for taxpayers, 10News reported.Many of the surrogate parents are from Europe or other parts of the world, and 10News learned some of the surrogates do not have the insurance needed to cover the costs related to the birth, meaning hospitals such as Sharp Mary Birch are saddled with the unpaid bills."The surrogacy I did was for twins," said an unidentified woman, who had the babies four years ago.The surrogate father, Paulo Monteiro, boarded a plane with his new twins and flew home to Portugal and was never heard from again.10News learned Monteiro left a trail of unpaid bills -- $174,000 for the girl and $218,000 for the boy.Sharp filed a lawsuit against Monteiro last year, 10News reported."We just carry the baby until it's born, everything else is up to the parents," said the woman, who added she thought Monteiro had paid the bill.Sources familiar with the surrogate industry say there are many similar cases where hospitals are stuck with unpaid bills. Those losses, in the millions every year, are then passed on to taxpayers."They were his biological babies, you know," the woman told 10News.The woman said she made $23,000 to carry Monteiro's twins. She had the embryos implanted after visiting La Jolla IVF.10News learned everything was arranged by Poway attorney Theresa Erickson and the company she founded, Conceptual Options.Erickson, who left the company two years ago, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud after it was revealed she was in the business of selling babies for up to $150,000 each."It's absolutely insane, I mean beyond immoral. That's just horrible," the woman said.The woman said she is no longer a surrogate mother because she is turned off by the industry.While Erickson pleaded guilty, Conceptual Options has not been accused of any wrongdoing.