November 08, 2008
RICO Suit Against Main Street Adoptions
Another Rico suit has been filed in the federal courts, this time aginast Main Street Adoptions of Lancaster, PA. Having personally spoken with many of the plaintiffs here, I have to say "go get 'em".
Click here for a story on it.
Click here for the complaint filed: Download file
Posted by Kevin at November 8, 2008 05:56 PM
This news has been a long time coming! I know a family who was strung along by this agency's lies and intimidation. I'm looking forward to seeing the people involved in this illegal activity punished for the heartbreak they caused.
Lu, thank you, we are pleased to finally have an attorney like Joni Fixel, (on our side), who will help champion in a new era in adoption agencies, one in which they will be held liable for their misdeeds. With Joni's commitment and Pap’s joining together, agencies will no longer feel free to run rampant over Paps. There have been few avenues of recourse in the past, where the cost of individual suits out weighed the financial losses. Its our intention for agency owner's to wake up and treat us all with respect and decency. In no other business would one be able to steal tens of thousands of dollars, lie and intimidate clients with no recourse.
Reform is on the horizon, and with it will come changes for the better, for Paps and for innocence children used a pawns.
Melissa (the first Pap on the MS suit).
This got picked up by Prensa Libre: http://www.prensalibre.com/pl/2008/noviembre/10/275476.html
Judy, Silver Spring MD
I agree with Kevin: Go get 'em!
There is no place for fraud in adoption. Arrest 'em, give 'em a fair trial, convict 'em, and LOCK 'EM UP!
For a very long time, I might add...
You people are not looking for justice; you are on a witch hunt! Bob and Nina do not lie and intimidate. I have firsthand knowledge of this, as I am the adoptive mother of a child who would not have come home to us without the hard work of Main Street Adoption Service. I have read the complaint filed in this case. To those of you involved in the case: are you aware that you will have to prove each and every one of the allegations in your complaint? Much of what is included in the complaint is opinion and hearsay. And, to those of you who know nothing of the case but are rooting for the plantiffs simply because you are bitter: beware of only learning one side of a story. Please do not judge until you have the facts. Be wise and fair enough to truly follow the case and learn the facts ON BOTH SIDES before you believe that Bob and Nina are anything other than caring people who tried to rectify devastating situations by offering to help find other children for the families to adopt.
Not only am I an adoptive parent, but I have also been a plaintiff's attorney. I, too, can draft a complaint that makes defendants look bad. But a complaint is only one side of the story, and alleging wrongdoing is far from being able to prove it. Anyone, whether they are trained in the law or not, can make sweeping statements filled with accusations and libel.
Kevin, I am so surprised that you would jump on this bandwagon, too. I have followed this website for quite some time, thinking that you are fair to people. You should know better, also, than to form your opinion based on one side of a story. I do not dispute that there are corrupt agencies out there, and I hope that any wrongdoing will be punished. But we at least owe the accused agencies a fair hearing of their side. Your readers are likely to read the rantings of the plaintiffs in this case and believe that all of the allegations in the complaint have been established as fact. That is just simply not the way it is!
I am sorry, truly sorry, that the families in the lawsuit went through terrible heartbreak in their attempt to adopt. But Main Street Adoption Service has succeeded in bringing many children home who are thriving and whose parents will always be grateful to Bob and Nina for their hard work. They don't deserve to be treated this way.
I agree wth Angelitasmama. Main Street Adoptions has always shown professionalism and respect to their clients. We have adopted 2 children from Guatemala through Main Street and have a great respect for Bob and Nina. The situation in Guatemala hasn't always been ideal and has been worse recently than before. We have read through the case files and most of the complaints are weak at best and unsubstantiated. I know there are people out there that have had some very challenging moments with their adoptions and I feel terrible for them. This however does not give the parties the right to use Main Street Adoptions as a scapegoat. I am sorry you don't have your kids. This is clearly a bitter witch hunt orchestrated by a very bitter person. People, don't rush to judgement. Remember, there is always 2 sides of the story and these people will be provided the opportunity to present their case to the courts and the burden of proof lies with the plantiffs. Once again we are eternally greatful for all of the hard work that Bob and Nina have provided us and our support is with them.
Angelitasmama, you are also clearly biased in your opinion. Let a judge and jury decide. Just because an agency gets some children home without difficulty doesn't make them innocent of wrong-doing or neglect in other cases. The cases that have problems are the true test of an agency - for some reason, many agencies seem to think that they have zero accountability when things go wrong - why should this be?
I do know the story of one of the families involved in this case, so I am also biased, however, I am not going to go on a public forum to defend either side. Just stating that it is fair and reasonable to expect an agency to be accountable.
I think everyone needs to wait to see how this plays out in the legal system, but the families are certainly within their rights to file suit against the agency if they feel that they have a legal basis to.
You are fortunate that you were able to bring your child home. These parents were not as fortunate, and have had to suffer significant financial and emotional costs.
Thanks for your opinion, but you are a lucky one who actually got a child and Bob and Nina are very convincing, actually they are expert con men, so I can appreciate your believing them to be the victims here, but this is simply not true. They did everything and more that we allege in this lawsuit, they belong behind bars and hopefully soon the DA will take action in PA.
We have exhibits to back up all the claims, this is indeed what happened to us and until you walk a mile in our heartbreaking shoes, you need to be careful in your backing of criminals. Be glad you got your child, that's all its ever really about right? Too bad they stold, lied and scammed at least 25 other families. Not all families in trouble were able to join the suit, as they are still in pursuit of children in tangled messed up cases, thanks to the direct negligence and agregious actions of Main Street.
Are you aware one family already WON their arbitration against Main Street? I guess that proves something right? That Judge/Arbitrator, said they were agregious and he was sickened by their actions, he told them "they ruined this young couples lives".
Yes, their are two sides, the right side, and the side of a corrupt agency about to go under.
If Mainstreet is innocent, "Angel", then why are their phones down and their website pulled, why have they told new paps for the Hungarian program that they are filing bankruptcy? Seems they have no defense? Why won't they talk to reporters? Hum... Why were they kicked out of the Kaz and Lith programs, why did they have to leave CA?
Enough said. Maybe you should check your facts, I find it interesting that you claim to be an attorney, something Nina is found of doing...and Milagro, yep, everyone's an attorney! Small world. One of the many, many burned paps by MSAS.
Lets not blame Kevin or this site for doing what we have relied on him/it to do...report the news what ever it is. And he is entitled to his opinion....this is HIS site. I do not have to defend him, he's a big boy...but I will defend the PAPS who are involved with this lawsuit and before you think that I am one of them, I assure you that I am not, although I could be, because I, too, am a victim of Main Street. I am not part of the suit because I cannot re-live the heartache.
If you had a successful adoption with Main Street, then God Bless you and your child, but just stop and think what these parents have gone through and are still going through.
Imagine coming home night after night to an empty room that you prepared for your child, to clothes now too small that will never be worn but are still hanging in the closet, toys that will never be used by your child...because your child will never come home....it is like an emotional miscarriage
And if, like you say, you have been a plaintiffs attorney, you will know that there has to be ample evidence to prove a case before any reputable attorney will even look at it. Joni Fixel has championed the cause for many other families against one or two other agencies and so far been successful. When an attorney sees from the many documents provided, a pattern, not from one family but from many...and let me state here that there are currently as many victim families who did not participate as there are who did, but who shared their stories with the attorney...there is a pattern...all of these people cannot be wrong and they aren't.
Possibly in the past, Main Street was successful in bringing children home, but somewhere along the line, someone dropped the ball and caused grief untold to these families. Just because there has been sucessful adoptions, does not change the fact that for these families, theirs were not. These families have a right to make those reponsible accountable. I know that they pursued all of the avenues that were available to them before they took this step, they ran out of options.
So, please consider that this side of the story, unbelievable as it may seem to you, is unfortunately true..
Right or wrong.....cheaters and liars or straight as angels.....please remember that there are some families, like us that are still in process with them.....WITH LEGAL ADOPTIONS PENDING!!! Our child is NOT home yet and yes, we have been done wrong too. HOWEVER, potentially causing trouble for other families is NOT on my agenda. NOT while there are still INNOCENT families and DOUBLEY INNOCENT children involved. We hate it for all of us caught in this mess but please remember, it is just so much deeper than that. We all deserve to bring our kids home. Kids who had no say in the matter. Kids who deserve to come home to their forever families. Please remember the children......
Sadly, this all has a very familiar ring to it. Where else have I read posts defending an agency by saying there are "two sides to the story"? Where else have I heard that agency's PAPs (supposedly) complain that the legal action is putting their adoptions in jeapardy, demonizing the plaintiffs for their selfishness?
Must be the standard PR tactic for an agency whose corruption is being exposed. Sorry, I've heard it all before and each time the agency owners either lost the suit or were put in jail! Color me skeptical of the posts defending this agency.
We too are still in the process with trying to bring our child home. Main Street is doing nothing to try and finish our case. We have been in the process for way to long. Main Street is broke and wants its remaining PAPS to free them from their contracts. They lie, and then lie some more. They don't care about the children if they did they would do anything to help get our children home.
Please understand, I am NOT defending MS or anyone affiliated with them. FAR FROM IT!! I just think that potentially putting other cases, of innocent people/children, in danger is very selfish. And honestly, I don't have to defend my families feelings to anyone. We have been through the wringer for almost 2 years, as seems to be the "normal" timeline for PAP's of MSA. We have had to "hand hold", beg, plead and throw a fit to get where we are now. And quite a bit of progress has only come because we've been on top of it and pushing till it moves.
All we want is our child to come home. Safely and without question.
Just to further clarify, we did all we could do to post-pone this lawsuit, so that MSAS could bring the many in process children home, there has been ample time for them to do so, instead, they continue to drop cases, people continue to lose children and other cases are so messed up there could be many more months and even years involved before these children are brought home. Many of these cases started in 2006 and should have been home long before any Hague issues.
Two other families are almost home, these are two that will come home and we did wait for them.
Now, we could no longer wait due to MSAS telling their attorney's they were filing bankruptcy or going to soon, and we could not wait because MSAS sent us letters trying to terminate our contracts, then they never paid that attorney who sent the letters so he dropped them! I could go on and on, but like other posters said, the truth will come out in court, were it belongs.
Thanks adoption community for your support.
April, I'm happy you finally got your second child home, you obviously forgot you did have problems with them, but again, once the child is home, POOF! All problems seem to have never happened.
I'm pushing forward because they need to be stopped, I doubt we will see a dime, but I won't let them hurt another family the way I've seen them hurt so many. It's not only the loss of a precious child, in many cases its the end of the road, how many of you could lose $35k+ due to your agencies negligence, and then afford another adoption? Literally starting all over, new homestudy, new dossier and oh yeah, not many country options left? How about the PAP's that are now too old to qualify for domestic or some countries limitations, I guess they just lose it all.
We hope this lawsuit like lawsuit before it, helps the in process cases move forward because MSAS is not going to do it on their own.
oh my we used main street as an agency, should we be afraid of anything?
"I just think that potentially putting other cases, of innocent people/children, in danger is very selfish."
really? are we seriously telling people that paid nearly 30 grand,waited for 2 years bonding to child after child, who are still childless, SELFISH for wanting justice? wouldn't that be JUST as selfish as the people who paid their money, bonded with a child, and are actually waiting for a child to come home to tell those whose children never will to be quiet? hmmm....
i'm sorry you are afraid, i'd be afraid too, but how long are they supposed to not fight for themselves and stand up for what is right?
"really? are we seriously telling people that paid nearly 30 grand,waited for 2 years bonding to child after child, who are still childless, SELFISH for wanting justice? wouldn't that be JUST as selfish as the people who paid their money, bonded with a child, and are actually waiting for a child to come home to tell those whose children never will to be quiet? hmmm...."
I am well aware of the people and their stories in this suit and I never said "BE QUIET" but be mindful of others. It's not our faults either!!! We have lost more money and precios time than I can count in the last 23 months.
I will not be posting back to this topic because in all honesty, it's making my blood boil that I'm supposed to see everyone else's point of view but no one wants to hear mine.
You know, it's not the fact of the law suit for me, it's that the main PAP contacted a major news paper in Guat to run this story knowing full well (as admitted on this site) that there were families coming home. What was the purpose of that? It tells waiting families that you don't want their children to come home. When you keep it here in the US, then it's about the agency, but when you start contacting people in Guat when families are down there are you said, then it's not about the agency anymore. These cases have taken long enough, many through years of investigation. They have been cleared, let the children come home and stop trying to put road blocks or jeopardize the case.
Maybe the real issue is recognizing and then saying and doing something about the problem with these unethical agencies no matter what point you are at in the adoption process.
It's so easy to point the finger and say that other PAPs are being selfish by putting anothers' adoption at risk by outting an agency. But...the point is, the PAP is not the one who has crossed the line with the unethical business practice. It is the agency who has committed the fraud or the deception. So, why are we upset or angry with each other when we decide to help another and step-up with this information? Why do other PAPs find this so alarming and so uncomfortable that they feel the need to protect an agency, which is simply supplying a service and, if that other PAP is correct, will do the same to them? Instead, it appears like "all-out-war" and sides are chosen as if those waiting will be penalized by the agency if they appear to be in the "wrong PAP camp."
In the past several months, there have been three agencies who have been filed against. There is a systemic problem that many of us have written about over the past several years but few have listened to. Even those who once complained and have since brought their children home, have lost their voice and desire to help bring these agencies down. Unless we work together to improve adoptions, especially for our children, these unethical agencies will continue to take advantage of us and those who they claim to serve. After all, it is the children who are affected most when these agencies are so unconcerned with 1)the way they handle their business practices, 2)their interactions with their counter-parts in other countries and, 3)their lack of honesty and integrity.
Liz. (an AP and a POZ litigant)
For the families who have the courage to come forward to press on for justice, I applaud you. I am so very sorry for your losses. To again under-go criticism from families that are hopeful to finalize their adoptions seems to be an incredibly cruel response. Yes, the stakes are high and at the end of the day all we have left is our integrity. That is something on which a value cannot be placed, but living without that compass is just not worth it. I appreciate the families that have filed suit. It is important to identify how unscrupulous individuals/agencies have carried out their capers. The lessons learned here will help in reform efforts. And ultimately, Guate was shutdown for a number of reasons--including the 200 agencies that were running around doing their work on the ground in a foreign nation with little to no regulation. It is not wonder that unscrupulous types got into the game. They corrupted an opportunity and the consequences have come to bear. I'm sick and tierd of hearing of facilitators who extort, etc. And, so little recourse. As such, good luck to the families involved in the RICO cases...glad to see that organized crime law is being used because its about time we get honest about what has been going on!
For whatever reason, my last comment went unpublished. All I can tell you is this:
Why is not ok to be afraid for my own adoption because of someone's elses actions? Whether it be a PAP or an agency.
Why is not ok to have my opinion and voice it? Everyone else is.
I am NOT, WILL NOT, HAVE NOT ever in this lifetime defend MSAS!! Be very clear on that! NEVER....I am not worried about "choosing the agencies sides". I do know of these families experiences, was personally involved with one family and heck yeah I would choose their side! But we have also chosen to make sure that we don't potentially put other families in harms way of finalizing their adoption. If that means we have to wait to get justice, to make sure that everyone is safe at home that is still in process.....well, that's my decision.
We have lost more money and precious time in the past 23 months. More than I have any reason to account to any of you. The heartache I have felt. The nights I cried myself to sleep. The times I had to tell my children that NO, their sibling could not come home yet.
And as Liz stated....."The PAP is not the one who crossed the line." So, don't penalize me with your actions. My adoption is legal and my child has a right to be at home, where they belong.
I will not reply to this thread again b/c it makes my blood boil that everyone who is immediately FOR THIS can have an opinion but those who would like to make sure that families are completed before the legal proceedings beging are not allowed to have their own voice. There are not but a few left. Would it have hurt to wait a month or 2? You've waited this long.
Only now we realize how lucky we were to have a professional and honest agency. ADOPTIONS INTERNATIONAL of Philadelphia was with us all the way, all the time. They never lied to us.In August 2007 when we started the adoption they told us that the law was going to be changed and that we may never bring a child home and we could have lose the money. Thank God we made it. A big thank you to HANNAN WALLACE, the owner of the agency, and the people that work with her. Thank you again for your honesty and integrity. ANTONIO, Gina and Vince.
I did not contact Pense Libre with the article nor did any other pap who is filing suit, the lawsuit is public and was written about on the web, then the reporter tried to contact MSAS they did not respond, then they contacted our attorney and she only answered what the next steps are. I just wanted to clarify that, I don't know who you are Vic, but you got that wrong. Please don't accuse people when you do not know the facts.
I'm very aware there are paps in Guatemala, thanks to MSAS there are paps who have had to live there for years trying to get their children home.
Guatmom, I'm sorry you feel the way you do, its an inner struggle you'll have to live with your entire life. We all have been changed by the actions of Main Street, I wish you all could keep your focus on the facts and not attack the paps who lost precious children they loved. Children they went to visit with suit cases full of birthday presents, children who never really were available to begin with, but were bribed away from their parents and used in a sick game by the sheer greed of MSAS.
Unless you walked in our shoes the last two years, you have no clue, and if you walked but are still getting your child home, you still have no clue, just keep considering yourself "lucky" with no thoughts or cares about where these children really belong, for that is the reason for all the anger and I truly get it. No one really wins when an agency acts in a corrupt manner.
GUATMOM, we waited until the last second we could to file, MSAS's is suppose to have insurance that expires on 10/24/2008, that is what the DPW of PA told us so we filed on 10/22/2008; your child might be home in two months, several others are not going to be home this year and they simply don't know when. So, to answer your guestion, no we could not wait any longer and like you are well aware, some will never come home and how are we to know which ones and when?
If your adoption is clean, there is no reason to fear anyone knowing about MSAS, the US Embassy and PGN/CNA, RENAP they have all been made aware of the problems long before our suit was ever filed. You can't keep the genie in the bottle just to benefit your child. Sorry you don't "get it," its bigger then that.
We know the truth will come out, justice will be done and the lives of innocent children will be vindicated. My child, Madeline, MSAS told me she died in their fostercare, my hope is that no one ever has to go through this.
It takes a lot of courage to step forward and make agencies accountable for their wrongdoing. I refuse to believe that the agency was unaware of the many irregularities that were going on in Guatemala while they continued to accept cases...
I actually believe that showing that agencies are finally being held accountable for their actions in the U.S. is a positive thing to publish in the Guatemalan media. For so long the bad rep has been assigned to PAP and AP that it is high time that attention focuses on the victimizers rather than the vicitims.
Yuk! I've heard nothing but bad things about this agency. If you brought your children home through this agency, consider yourself the lucky ones!
It's about time they got busted!
We just came home with our two daughters, after waiting 2 years for one of them. We haven't even spoken to our agency (the one we used for our 2 year old) in over a year...we completed the adoption without any communication/help from them. In fact, I believe they are out of business (or soon will be) and are being investigated.
I'm wondering, for those still in process with Main Street, are you sure your adoption will be jeopardized by this lawsuit? I would suggest taking matters into your own hands. It is the attorney and facilitator in Guatemala handling your adoptions, the agency is only the go-between (between you and your atty). If you could find a way to contact the attorney directly (might mean making an actual trip to Guat) you might be able to take over managing your adoption without the help of Main Street. I suppose it depends on where you are at the the process.
At least from what I can tell, and from my own experience, there wasn't a single solitary thing I needed from my agency in finishing the final YEAR of my adoption. It might be worth contacting Adoption Supervisors for advice.
Maybe I'm missing something, but it seems that you should be able to find a way to finish this on your own.
Happy to hear you made it. You brought your child home!! God bless you and your family. Vince and Gina.
I was scammed by Bob and Nina for 5 years., I hate them and finally I adopted my daughter they are liars, scammers and fakers, here in California and in PA - I am hoping that other people will see my name and realize they scammed us for 5 years, they have never helped anyone adopt that is a lie- they use fake resources and people.
Main Street Adoptions is not an agency I would use or reccommend- maybe they have brought 5 children home for every 100 couples they scammed myself included. They use scare tactics like they can get attorneys, prove it agianst us- f=== I lost my money, that is the way it is by the grace of God I found another agency and transfered all my paperwork there and have a beautiful baby girl after 7 fricken years of hell 5 with Nina. Maybe they do a few adoptions but the rest of us were scammed- give me a break to ruin peoples lives? They dont have control over countries that is true but come fricken on the paperwork lies, money lies, tied up lies, lies lies,, then they say you have to prove they did wrong, buyer beware
thats true didnt do enough research but NOW I am telling everyone this is a scam agency RUN away- we will never see our money and if other couples loose money like us and time we arent posting enough to share our stories- I am not slandering them I am telling the truth- 6k later I lost- no big deal because now I have a baby girl from a great Kazakhstan agency but come on NINA AND BOB must be stopped-------- for every one good adoption is 1000 other lies- I love her new 90k mercedes I helped pay for it
This is pretty sad to see and hear. We used MSAS in 2002 to adopt to children from Kazakhstan, and Nina was super sweet and helpful. Some friends of ours also adopted at the same time with them. They actually waived their portion of the fee for the second child - really seemed to be looking out for the kids. It's disappointing that so much seems to be going wrong with the Guatemalan program.
My family and i added a sweet little girl to our family in 2007 using MSAS. Nina was wonderful and did everything she could to bring our special needs child home quickly in order to receive much needed medical care. She was home in less than three months. Without their care and concern our little girl would have been left to die in an institution. They have helped some people make their dreams come true. Before i found Main Street we lost two little girls with other agencies. Maybe the problem isn't the agencies in question but the corrupt adoption system in Guatemala as a whole.
Our adoption with MSAS also was a wonderful experience! We found Nina and Bob to be extremely professional, knowledgeable and 2 wonderful caring people! Nina hand carried us all the way through the adoption process even though we had to CHANGE ANGENCIES half way through our process to due new regulations in Russia. Nina transferred all monies to new agency (who could have cared less about us) and fascilitated the adoption by helping us with many problems while in country when the contracted agency DID NOTHING...Nina and Bob made ZIP! Plus they encontered long distance phone calls and extra charges for us to get us home! We had many problems while there and the new agency's director and her board never even returned URGENT phone calls to us while there for court! And we paid double the fees to them!!!! And they were the accredited agency! I followed Nina's lead, she was the professional and gave us that kind of advise. We listened and were successful. I am sorry to learn of those not so fortunate in GUA....However I really find it hard to believe that Nina and Bob would do anything under-handed given the adoptions I followed with them for 4 years. Nina is a very big advocate for getting the children home to better life! I wish everyone well in this situation! But I certainly could never believe Nina and Bob are criminals! Sorry
Our family will be celebrating our "gotcha" day on 9/20 with our 2 beautiful Ukrainian angels. It will be 2 years since we got them home. It took us 2 1/2 years to get to Ukraine and lots of extra money. However, none of this was because of anything Nina or Bob could control, it was the Ukrainian gov. changing laws etc. Nina was very helpful to us and led us all the way through for 2 1/2 years! I remember a time when it was hard to reach her. She told me that she was having a hard time with the Gua program and it was a mess. She was very distraught about what was going on, although she didn't share any details. She also shared with me that she wanted to open an African program. She told me a few stories of an orphanage she wanted to help. She was even thinking about going over there and just trying to make a difference, not make money! She does care about the children, tremendously! What has happened in the Gua program is horrible. I'm sorry. We were very close to not getting kids ourselves, because of Ukraine, not Nina. I think they got in over their heads in a bad situation, but I don't think they are criminals.
Does anyone know of a reputable attorney I
can hire to represent me against Main Street
Adoption Agency? I am trying to find one
in Pennsylvania where MSA was located.
We will be celebrating our son's Gotcha Day from Guatemala on 11/5, thanks to Bob & Nina. However, my sister was not as lucky. She lost TWO children, and almost 100K through Main Street Adoption. The suffering was so emotional she thought she was having a nervous breakdown. Nina advised her in the end to just "walk away". Jack and Emma will always have a very special place in our family's heart. We think of them often.
We adopted two children out of Kazakhstan thru Bob and Nina in late 2001! I have nothing but good things to say about them as they were very professional but fairly new in their agency. We had our contracts on our children in August of 01 and were already picking them up in late November of the same year as all of our other paperwork was done prior to our contracts. We met two other wonderful families there who we still keep in contact with and I am so blessed that I was able to meet Bob and befriend him by phone at least 5 months prior to our adoption. I am so sorry to hear of all these horror stories as ours went as smoothly as can be expected being in a third world country......... We ended up spending about 28k total and adopted a 5 year old boy and a 2 1/2 year old girl!! We could not be happier and Bob and Nina surely did not make much on our adoption!! I wish them both the best and pray for all of you who cannot bring your children home due to the ignorance of foreign countries!!