November 1, 2010
Jury Convicts Roslyn Attorney of Stealing More Than $300K by Promising Non-Existent Babies to Would-Be Adoptive Parents
Cohen faces up to 92 years in prison for his conviction of grand larceny, fraud, and forgery
MINEOLA, NY – Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced today that a jury has convicted Kevin Cohen of grand larceny, fraud, and forgery charges for stealing more than $300,000 from prospective adoptive parents by promising them babies that did not exist. Cohen, an attorney, went so far as to present hopeful couples with fake sonograms and fictitious records on forged stationary from hospitals and doctors to carry out his scam.
The jury deliberated for about a day before convicting Cohen, 42, of Roslyn, of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, 11 counts of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, three counts of Criminal Possession of Forgery Devices, Attempted Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, 10 counts of Forgery in the Third Degree, eight counts of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Third Degree, and two counts of Criminal Impersonation in the Second Degree. He faces up to 92 years in prison at his December 7 sentence date.
During the three-week trial, the jury heard testimony from 13 prospective parents who had been scammed by Cohen who previously had headed an agency called the Adoption Annex. The Adoption Annex had been set up to provide information to prospective adoptive parents, but was defunct by 2008.
In most cases Cohen’s adoption scam scenario was similar. He would tell the couple that he had a young, unmarried mother who lived in either in Nebraska, Pennsylvania, or Arizona who wished to give up her baby for adoption.
Rice said that from October 2007 until the time of his arrest in September 2009, Cohen held himself out as a legal expert in adoption proceedings. He was able to obtain large sums of money from couples to arrange adoptions. Couples, including those from Georgia, Texas, and Ohio, gave Cohen the money believing it would be held in escrow to pay for the medical costs and other expenses of birth mothers who wished to have their children adopted.
One couple paid Cohen $60,000 after he claimed that he had located two prospective out-of-state birth mothers who were looking to give up their babies for adoption. In reality, these birth mothers did not exist and were fabricated by Cohen. Cohen went as far as to create forged medical records and information for the fake birth mothers which he gave to couples looking to adopt.
One couple said that their two other recently-adopted children had turned over their life savings of $500 to help their parents with the cost of adopting another baby. Another woman waited for days in a Pennsylvania motel room down the road from a hospital where Cohen said the birthmother was going to deliver. The hopeful adoptive mother returned home with no baby after Cohen told her that the mother had changed her mind. Often Cohen would comfort the families after a “failed adoption.” In order to assure that the family would not request their money back, Cohen would tell the family about another adoption situation, promising them that this time they would be parents.
“There are no words to describe the pain and torment this defendant inflicted on kind and generous couples looking to provide a child with a loving home,” Rice said. “Now, with Kevin Cohen headed to prison, he will never again have the chance to destroy another family’s dream of adopting a child.”
Deputy Chief Karen Bennett of the Street Narcotics & Gang Bureau and Assistant District Attorney Andrew Garbarino of the Public Corruption Bureau are handling the case for the DA’s Office. Cohen is representing himself.