In a cruel hoax a conwoman has scammed a childless couple out of thousands of dollars by convincing them she was carrying their surrogate baby but then claiming the child died in a car crash just before ‘birth’.
The vicious fraudster, Samantha Brown, allegedly connected with Benita and Mark Cutter when the couple, who were desperate to have a baby, advertised on the internet for a surrogate.
Benita, 49, knew she was unable to conceive so she and her husband travelled from Humberside, UK, to take up an internet offer from Brown to come stay at her home in Tain, Scotland. It was there that for three days 32-year-old Mr Cutter provided a daily sample of his sperm for Brown’s partner to use to artificially inseminate her.
The couple agreed to pay Brown for expenses and costs and were even sent ultrasound pictures of what Brown claimed to be their ‘child’. In total the couple reportedly paid just over £8,300 ($17,000 AUD), including unexpected expenses Brown claimed to have incurred when she lost her job due to ‘complications’ with pregnancy.
But the sickest twist in the ruse came days before the ‘child’ was due to be born. Brown reportedly told the Cutters she had been involved in a car accident and lost the baby and to sell her tale she sent the couple a picture of what she claimed was the deceased child which she said was taken on a mobile phone shortly after the infant had died.
Upon hearing the news the devastated Cutters tried to contact Brown in the hospital where she was supposed to be receiving treatment but they were told there was no record of her having been there.
Further suspicion began to arise when the photo was examined more closely and the child in the image seemed to be sleeping and wrapped up in clothing that didn’t look like hospital issue garb.
The whole web of lies came collapsing down when Brown admitted the fraud at Inverness Sheriff court.
Prosecutor Roderick Urquhart said the Cutters desperation for a child made them vulnerable targets for Brown.
“Everything else had been tried by the couple and surrogacy was their last option. It appears they were desperate for a child and perhaps consequently were a little gullible,” Prosecutor Roderick Urquhart said.
“They came into contact with Brown via an advert they had placed on the internet seeking the assistance of a surrogate. Brown offered her services and in due course the Cutters travelled to Tain where they met both Brown and her then partner.
“As the pregnancy progressed the Cutters were sent what purported to be scan images of the unborn child and were told of Brown’s visits to antenatal classes et cetera.
“It was established that all the Cutters had been told was false. Brown had never been pregnant; she had not attended any antenatal classes; had not been in a car crash; had not delivered a dead child; had not lost any wages; and had not incurred the expenses she had claimed and obtained from the Cutters.
“It would appear that the financial loss incurred by the Cutters paled almost into insignificance compared with the heartbreak, anguish and despair they suffered when they realised not only that they were not to become parents, but that they had been the victims of a calculated and callous fraud.”
Brown’s partner, Karen Galashan, 44, was also initially accused with Brown but charges against her were later dropped.
Brown – who is already in jail after admitting to shooting her neighbour in the head during a drunken dispute about seagulls – is due to be sentenced on February 12 as Sheriff Margaret Neilson has requested a background report.
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