- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 11, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) - Four current and former employees of an adoption services provider have been indicted by a grand jury after prosecutors say they conspired to defraud the U.S. in connection with the provider’s services in Ethiopia.

The U.S. Justice Department announced Tuesday that the indictment involves International Adoption Guides, a South Carolina company that identified children in Ethiopia for adoption and arranged for their adoption by U.S.-based parents.

Prosecutors say the defendants engaged in a five-year conspiracy in which orphanages were paid to “sign off” on contracts with adopting parents, even though the orphanages neither raised nor cared for the children.

Conspiring to defraud the United States carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of the greater of $250,000 or twice the value gained or lost.

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