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Orange County NewsFor Immediate Release Contact: Christopher BorekAugust 13, 2019 845.291.3276, 845.238.4245c
Defendant Sentenced to Two to Four Years in State Prison for Defrauding Couple out of over $8,000 By Falsely Telling Them that She was Pregnant and that She would allow the Couple to Adopt Her Twin Babies
Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler announced that on Tuesday, August 13, 2019, Ashley Richards, 33, of Walden, was sentenced by Orange County Court Judge Robert H. Freehill to two to four years in state prison from having defrauded a couple out of more than $8,000. On April 11, 2019 Richards had pleaded guilty to Grand Larceny in the Third Degree.
Prosecutors had argued that Richards had met a couple in early 2018 that were interested in adopting a baby. Prosecutors argued that Richards falsely told the couple that she was pregnant and was expecting twins, and that she would allow the couple to adopt the twin babies. Richards, who was not pregnant, gave the couple a stuffed animal with a recording that she states was the twin fetuses heartbeats and made repeated misrepresentations about her medical condition. The couple give Richards money, which she represented was going toward medical expenses associated with her “pregnancy”.
In addition to the state prison sentence, Richards was also ordered to pay restitution to the couple in the amount of $8,835.
District Attorney Hoovler thanked the New York State Police for their investigation of the case and the arrest of Richards.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Alexis Gregory.
"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 Hoovler. “The state prison sentence that this defendant received is just punishment for the cynical, elaborate and ongoing misrepresentations that she made to her victims. I can only imagine how devastating it must have been to the victims to learn of how they had been misled. I hope this prison sentence deters others who might be tempted to engage in similar schemes.”
A criminal charge is merely an allegation that a defendant has committed a violation of the criminal law, and it is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the State of New York’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.