Brunswick couple victimized by adoption deception case, police charge birth mother

BRUNSWICK, Ohio - A Brunswick couple has been victimized by a heartbreaking adoption deception case, according to police in Pinellas County, Florida.

The Pinellas County Court records Jennifer and Keith Hassinger gave birth mother Randi Guthriepiser more than $9,000 in 2016 for the right to adopt the child she was carrying.

But the Hassingers, who have suffered through multiple miscarriages told News their hope to adopt a child was shattered when Guthriepiser decided to keep her baby.

Police have now charged Guthriepiser with adoption deception, after she allegedly lied about her child's due date, collected thousands from the Hassingers after her child was born, and then decided to keep the child.

The Hassingers told News 5 the adoption was being handled by a company called Florida Adoptions.

The Hassingers said the contract with the company held the company harmless if the birth mother decided to keep her child, and that the company was not responsible for offering any refunds.

But police said Guthriepiser broke the law when she kept collecting money from the Hassingers after the birth of her baby.

"We were just shocked and then angry," said Jennifer Hassinger.  "We just felt lied to and deceived."

"I was just afraid that I was never going to be a mom after experiencing all the losses that we've had, so that was my biggest worry."

After the case involving Guthriepiser, the Hassingers admit they tried a second time with Florida Adoptions hoping for a better outcome, this time paying the birth mother approximately $10,000.

Keith Hassinger said sadly the results were the same, once the child was born, the birth mother decided to keep her baby.

However, Hassinger said in the second attempt it couldn't be proven if the mother continued to collect funds after her child was born.

Still, Keith Hassinger believes better state laws are need to protect couples from adoption deception.

"In the adoption world, the way it's set up, unfortunately mothers have the right to change their mind," said Hassinger. 

"But in the first case she wasn't just changing her mind, this was her keeping the baby and scamming us at the same time."

According to a report from the Pinellas County Sheriff's Department this isn't the first case of alleged adoption deception involving a birth mother set-up by Florida Adoptions.

Deputies arrested 32 year old Carrie A. Cutler in June of 2016 and charged her with adoption fraud after she allegedly took more than $13,000 from a Minnesota couple.

According to the report police said Cutler told the couple doctors kept moving her due date back, and so she kept accepting thousand in support through Florida Adoptions.

The report stated, in late March 2016, the adoption agency obtained records from Brandon Regional Hospital, and learned that Cutler had a miscarriage seven months earlier, in August 2015.

According to detectives, Cutler received approximately $13,464 dollars, post-miscarriage for expenses that included rent, food, medical and phone.

News 5 made multiple calls to Florida Adoptions about our story, but so far our calls have not been returned.

Meanwhile, News 5's ABC affiliate in Florida tried to reach Guthriepiser at her home, but she had no comment.

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