Police: Woman collected thousands in fake pregnancy scam

Published: Mar. 14, 2019 at 1:29 PM EDT
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By: Sophia Hernandez | WCTV Eyewitness News

March 15, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- A Tallahassee resident is accused of faking a pregnancy and defrauding a Virginia woman out of thousands of dollars.

44-year-old Krista Toro was arrested on March 12.

"I only looked at her as his first mother, and that she had given me this incredible, incredible gift and honor," said Julie Zupan, the victim in this case.

Zupan expressed, in detail, how she and Toro, connected. The duo was matched through an attorney just over two years ago. Toro had chosen Zupan to be the adoptive mother to her child, Caleb.

Two months later, Zupan says she received a phone call.

"She called and said I'm pregnant would you like to adopt another baby," she said.

Zupan saw this as a blessing, an opportunity for Caleb to have a full sibling.

This time, with no attorney or adoption agency assisting, the red flags were overlooked.

Zupan paid Toro a weekly stipend, something that experts like Khristine Thurman say is not uncommon.

"It's something we are seeing more and more these days, where birth moms learn about how to get expenses from the adoptive families quickly and often there is not a contract or a recording of the funds being provided, if they do it without a lawyer or an agent," Thurman explained.

With little guidance, Zupan believed photos like a fake sonogram, until just four days after the due date, when Toro called saying that she had a still birth.

Zupan explained, "It was like the world dropped. My oldest son was old enough he knew we had a baby coming, we had the room ready, I told my clients I am going to be gone for a while we are adopting another baby. I mean we were in, we were all in and bomb."

Zupan knew things did not add up, which is when she reached out to Toro's place of work, only to find out that Toro was never pregnant to begin with.

"That's the moment I knew I had been scammed," Zupan said.

This case, Thurman says, serves as a good lesson for anyone looking to adopt.

"Never spend a penny, not a check paid for anything, until you have a verified contract from an agency or attorney where there's a verified pregnancy from the start. don't trust anyone that's where we are," she said.

Zupan is now working to forgive, focused on what is best for Caleb.

"The end of the story needs to be that he that he came from people who went through a hard time, that we had to call the police, we had to get the courts involved but that it ended up that everyone is okay now, we forgive them, were going to move on, that's your family, we're all extended family, we're going to move forward, that, that is my goal," she said.

By: WCTV Eyewitness News

March 14, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- A Tallahassee woman is now facing charges, accused of faking a pregnancy in order to steal thousands of dollars from a prospective adoptive mother.

44-year-old Krista Toro was arrested Tuesday on a warrant for Organized Scheme to Defraud.

According to court documents, the Tallahassee Police Department launched an investigation in March 2017 after receiving a report from a woman in Virginia who said she had been the victim of a scam.

The victim she had adopted a baby in 2016 from the child's biological mother, Krista Toro. During the pregnancy, the victim paid for Toro's living expenses.

A few months after the child was adopted, the victim said Toro contacted her and said she was pregnant again. The victim said Toro asked if she wanted to adopt the second child as well, and she agreed. An arrangement was made that the victim would once again cover Toro's living expenses, at $500 a week.

The victim said she received photos from Toro of a pregnancy test and a sonogram over the subsequent months.

In March 2017, the victim said Toro called her and said that she had given birth to a stillborn baby, saying it was caused by "placenta previa." Toro claimed the hospital would cremate the baby and that she was released after a 24-hour stay.

The victim said she then researched placenta previa and discovered it does not cause stillbirth and doesn't occur in full-term babies. She also learned that mothers who present placenta previa are not discharged from the hospital within 24 hours, due to the health risks.

Police conducted an investigation into the allegations and learned Toro was not actually pregnant as she had claimed.

Multiple acquaintances of Toro said she did not mention a pregnancy nor appear pregnant, and a subpoena of hospital records showed Toro had not been to the hospital for any pregnancy-related visits whatsoever.

Investigators say in total, Toro collected $11,395 from the victim during the fake pregnancy.

Toro was booked into the Leon County Detention Facility on Tuesday and bonded out later the same day.