SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The owner of a Central California-based surrogate parenting agency has pleaded guilty to federal charges that she stole about $2 million from prospective parents who had set aside the money to cover the medical expenses of surrogate mothers and egg donors.
Tonya Collins entered the pleas on Tuesday, 10 months after a grand jury indicated her on charges of mail, wire and bank fraud and money laundering in connection with her Modesto-based Surrogenesis agency.
According to a plea agreement filed by the U.S. attorney in Sacramento, Collins embezzled money from an escrow account she had told clients was independent and insured, but that she controlled with no safeguards.
She then spent the money on real estate, jewelry, cars, vacations and other personal expenses.
She faces a maximum prison sentence of 80 years.
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