Surrogate Parenting Agency Owner Ordered to Pay $1.7 Million to Victims
|U.S. Attorney’s Office September 10, 2013|
FRESNO, CA—Senior United States District Judge Anthony W. Ishii today ordered Tonya Ann Collins, 37, formerly of Modesto, to pay $1,760,090 to victims of her fraud scheme that she carried out through her agency, Surrogenesis USA Inc., United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
According to court documents, from approximately November 2006 through March 2009, Collins defrauded clients of Surrogenesis. Surrogenesis purported to be a surrogate and egg donation agency that assisted individuals with infertility problems in having children through third-party assisted reproduction. Court documents show that Collins used the business accounts for personal purchases, including automobiles, homes, jewelry, clothing, and vacations for herself and others without the clients’ knowledge or consent. Collins used client trust funds that were supposed to be held in escrow accounts to directly pay for her personal purchases. Even though the accounts were drained and various surrogate mother fees and related surrogacy expenses were not paid, Collins continued to solicit new surrogate parent clients and funds.
Collins was sentenced on May 13, 2013, and is currently serving a five-year prison sentence. This case was the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kirk E. Sherriff prosecuted the case.