Walden woman sentenced to prison for baby adoption fraud

GOSHEN – A Walden woman was sentenced by Orange County Court Judge Robert Freehill on Tuesday to two to four years in state prison for defrauding a couple out of more than $8,000.

Ashley Richards, 33, pled guilty in April to grand larceny.

In early 2018, she had allegedly met a couple that was interested in adopting a baby and falsely told them she was expecting twins and would allow the couple to adopt them.

Richards, who was not pregnant, gave the couple a stuffed animal with a recording that she states was the two fetuses’ heartbeats and made repeated representations about her medical condition.

The couple gave Richards money, which she said was going toward medical bills associated with her pregnancy.

In addition to the state prison sentence, Richards was ordered to pay restitution of $8,835.

“While all frauds involve an abuse of the victims’ trust, this was a particularly cruel fraud perpetrated on a couple anxious to start a family,” said District Attorney David Hoovler. He called Richards’ prison sentence “just punishment for the cynical, elaborate and ongoing misrepresentations that she made to her victims.”

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