Mary Mooney of International Adoption Guides Has Changed Her Plea

Mary Mooney, the former executive director of International Adoption Guides (IAG) indicted by the Justice Department for fraud and corruption in Ethiopian adoptions and who pled guilty in January, has recently asked the judge to change her plea from guilty to innocent.

You can read about her guilty plea here. You can read the Department of Justice’s February 2014 press release on the indictments here.

Alisa Bivens and Jim Harding, the other two IAG staff people also indicted by the Justice Department, pled guilty last year. None of them has been sentenced yet. There will now be a delay in their sentencing pending the outcome of the judge’s decision as to whether Mooney can change her plea. It is unclear when the judge will rule on Mooney’s request, but it probably won’t happen until sometime this summer.

As far as I know, the fourth person indicted, an Ethiopian citizen apparently now living in Ethiopia, has not been arrested.

I am not a lawyer, and I have no inside information about this. Defendants can indeed change their plea, and will do so for various reasons: new evidence is uncovered, they want to have a trial, the lawyer didn’t provide adequate information about the plea, the deal worked out with the judge and prosecution under the guilty plea was unacceptable to the defendant, or some other reason. I don’t know if making this request six months after pleading guilty will have an effect on the judge’s decision.

If the judge allows Mooney to change her plea to innocent, the whole legal process starts again. She could then go to trial, or there could be a deal worked out between the defense and the prosecution to which the judge must agree.

I don’t know how much this has cost the Justice Department for years of gathering evidence for the indictment, nor how much has been spent for the legal process of the three current defendants.

I do know this is one more level of heartache for the families who adopted from International Adoption Guides.







6 thoughts on “Mary Mooney of International Adoption Guides Has Changed Her Plea

  1. Pingback: Sentencing Hearings for International Adoption Guides (IAG) | Light of Day Stories

  2. We have received notice that the Court denied Mooney’s motion to change her Plea. Sentencing hearings for Harding, Bivens and Mooney should be held within 60 to 90 days.

  3. Having worked in Ethiopian adoption from 1986 to when I pulled our little agency out of Ethiopia in 12/2008, I came in contact with Jayne Gallagher. She created problems in Ethiopian adoption. I came across families who had been dealing with Jayne & were stuck in Ethiopia & having serious problems. She reportedly married an Ethiopian – her last name became Bivens & she started using her middle name which was supposed to be Alisa. I truly believe that Jayne Gallagher & Alisa Bivens are one in the same.
    Cheryl Carter-Shotts, Americans for African Adoptions, Inc.

  4. I can’t agree that this is necessarily additional heartache.

    Still in favor of a trial, in the event that the judge lets her change her plea. That’s the proven process to get a better idea of what happened–as Rita Mae Brown first said, The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.

    Both of the previous federal cases resulted in pleas on the argument that the families get closure. But I don’t feel closed. I feel like the corruption that resulting in my child’s adoption is a weight she will eventually end up carrying…because instead of the uncomfortable, unacceptable, unpalatable facts, my government allowed the criminals to plead to financial offenses.

  5. Hopefully they will not let her change her Plea. Just read through some old emails in 2006 and 2007 between me and Mary and how I was figuring out see was scamming everyone and she blamed it on Jane a lady who was in country she later told us Jane was arrested but that was a lie. I Call FBI in 2007 and let them know IAG was up to no good but they didn’t listen.

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