A Virginia woman has been charged with 9 counts of larceny for lying to a couple about a baby they could adopt.
This comes a few months after an investigation by a special prosecutor.
Elizabeth Jones, of Nickelsville, Virginia has been arrested on felony charges for the scam.
Jones admitted to fooling the couple and has promised to go to therapy to figure out why. But she doesn’t believe she did anything criminally wrong faking a pregnancy or taking the couple’s gifts for the non-existent baby.
The prosecutor disagreed.
Watch coverage of the case here:
On Monday, Jones was charged with felony larceny for receiving gifts under “false pretenses.”
The couple, Laura and Matt Trayte had been told they could adopt the baby Jones was not pregnant with. They bought her dinners and gifts, though no direct cash was given.
This was enough for prosecutors to determine possible criminal action had taken place, and arrest Jones.
Good!— Boycott. Blacklash (@TrinbagoTolkien) March 14, 2019
Adoptive parents call a woman's fake pregnancy a 'psychological attack' l Washington Post https://t.co/x6O4Toq7Pa— fuseboxradio (@fuseboxradio) March 13, 2019
Remember the fake baby case?https://t.co/79QJdVl6ui— Crime Beat podcast (@beat_crime) March 8, 2019
She was cruel and my heart goes out to the couple.— Andrea (@junglejetgirl) March 9, 2019
The scam started in September when Jones found the Traytes searching for a birth mother. Jones told the couple she was six months pregnant and couldn’t afford another child.
She didn’t ask the couple for money, but the two parties came to a mutual agreement to have an open adoption and allow Jones to be in the child’s life.
The Traytes were so excited for the child, they arranged for a professional photographer to do a shoot with them and Jones.
It was only a few days before the child was due.
We have so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving! We are so thankful and grateful to have found this wonderful,...Posted by A Sibling For Hudson on Thursday, November 22, 2018
However, that quickly soured, as only a week later, Jones texted the couple saying she had gone into labor. The Traytes rushed to the hospital but found no baby.
They were devastated.
Family and Friends, This is a very condensed version of the psychological attack that has been waged on us the past few...Posted by A Sibling For Hudson on Saturday, December 8, 2018
After taking another week to begin the healing process, the couple posted about their pain and frustration, especially with law enforcement who weren’t sure what crime they could charge Jones for at the time.
In January, Jones had given an interview where she claimed she committed no legal crime.
“What I did… I never should have done it, but I’m not a horrible person. I’m really not. And I really wish people would see that. People make mistakes all the time.”
People online don’t seem to agree with Jones.
Hateful horrible— Gina Imboden (@Giimboden127) March 13, 2019
What a sick, demented thing to do to a desperate couple looking for hope and a child. Wtf is wrong with people?— practicing•womanist (@hipcath) March 13, 2019
This is absolutely insane and completely heartbreaking...https://t.co/GSgTuwoWxY— Optimistically Cynical #Resist (@7deadly_sinz) March 14, 2019
Nasty.— Paul Saucier (@PaulSaucier9) March 9, 2019
Jones’ prosecution took a lot of effort.
Since no direct money was given between the two parties, the special prosecution’s investigation had to focus on what possible laws were broken.
The other part of the problem is faking a pregnancy isn’t a crime. As damaging as that was, it didn’t contribute to the charges.
However, receiving the dinners and gifts was a crime, as Jones only received them because of her fake story.
Additionally, Jones was previously found guilty of credit card fraud in 2017. She was released on probation for that crime, during which time she committed her pregnancy fraud.
This could potentially increase her charges as probation requires the person refrain from criminal conduct.
A bond hearing is scheduled Wednesday morning for Jones.