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Samantha Hayes Reporting Dan Wakefield is accused of lying to birth parents in Samoa and adoptive parents in the United States. Today he heard the charges against him and entered a plea.
Dan Wakefield is accused of visiting birth parents in Samoa and persuading them to place their children in the program, which indictment papers say he described as a U.S. program to help struggling Samoan families, not an adoption agency. This morning he entered a not-guilty plea.
According to the federal government's indictment, parents in Samoa who knew Dan Wakefield trusted him. He promised them that their children would be educated in the United States and then return. They would be able to visit their children and receive financial assistance.
Wakefield and six other defendants are also accused of lying to adoptive parents, saying the children were orphans or their families were unable to care for them.
Conspirators discouraged some adoptive families from traveling to Samoa to pick up their newly adopted child. And often they required that adoptive families make donations to the agency. Conspirators prepared affidavits for signature by the birth parents, justifying the relinquishment of the child under Samoan law. Affidavits were written in English, which Samoan birth parents could not read or understand.
Paul Dimodica tried to adopt through the agency six years ago.
He says what has happened now does not surprise him.
Paul Dimodica: "I estimate we lost between $9,000 and $10,000 with Focus on Children with the fiasco in Bulgaria then dealing with them in the Ukraine."