BENTONVILLE — Two Northwest Arkansas women admitted in court Monday to taking money from prospective adoptive parents without intending to give up their babies.
Meryann Lomae, 34, of Huntsville and Angela Emos, 34, of Springdale were each sentenced to 120 days in the Benton County jail.
Emos will begin serving her sentence Tuesday, but Lomae will be formally sentenced in November after she gives birth to another baby, also scheduled to be adopted.
Vaughn-Michael Cordes with the Cordes Law Firm said he met Lomae in January 2017 and she agreed to an adoption, according to court documents. Lomae received $13,800 from money the couple provided through the law firm, according to court documents.
Cordes said he received a call Aug. 1, 2017, from someone at Willow Creek Women's Hospital who wanted contact information for Lomae and reported she had given birth July 25, 2017, at the hospital, according to a probable cause affidavit.
The hospital employee told Cordes she believed the baby boy had been adopted. Cordes said one of his employees heard that Lomae had placed the child for adoption through another attorney, according to court documents.
Roxanne Cartwright of North Dakota reached out to Rogers police Aug. 30, 2016, and said she and her husband had been matched with a pregnant Emos to adopt her baby, according to court documents.
Cartwright told police she and her husband hired Cordes and put $30,000 in an account to cover attorney fees and other costs associated with the adoption, according to court documents. Cordes could give Emos $1,400 per month for expenses while she was pregnant, according to the affidavit.
The child was adopted through another attorney.
"Did you take money from adoptive parents and not give them the baby?" Benton County Circuit Judge Robin Green asked Emos.
"I didn't give them the baby," Emos replied.
The judge accepted the women's guilty pleas, and both women were placed on 10 years of state-supervised probation.
Lomae was ordered to pay $28,521 in victim restitution, while Emos must pay $12,260 in victim restitution.