Margaret Cole of European Adoption Consultants Pleads Guilty to Fraud in International Adoption

Margaret Cole of European Adoption Consultants, a now closed adoption agency in Ohio, admitted February 4, 2022, that she was guilty in the case of a child adopted fraudulently from Poland. Cole was expected to go to trial next week on charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States and of making false statements to Polish authorities. Two other agency staffers (Debra Parris and Robin Longoria) had already admitted guilt and will be sentenced in March. Cole will be sentenced in May.

The U.S. Justice Department issued a press release about the case. They note that “According to court documents, Margaret Cole, 74, of Strongsville, Ohio, admitted to conspiring with Debra Parris and others to deceive authorities regarding the adoption of a child from Poland.  When Cole learned that clients of the adoption agency determined they could not care for one of the two Polish children they were set to adopt, Cole and her co-conspirators took steps to transfer the Polish child to Parris’s relatives, who were not eligible for intercountry adoption.

Cole, Parris and others agreed to defraud U.S. authorities to conceal their improper transfer of the Polish child.  Following the adoption, the child was injured and hospitalized while living with Parris’s relatives. (See my note below: the child was horrifically abused.) Thereafter, Cole made a false statement to the Polish authority responsible for intercountry adoptions about the transfer of the child that, among other things, concealed the role of Cole and others in arranging the transfer of the child to Parris’s relatives.”

Last November, Debra Parris pleaded guilty to fraud in adoption from Poland and Uganda. The staffers of European Adoption Consultants had been indicted for fraud and other charges by the U.S. Justice Department last August. Cole’s trial was to begin this week. Instead, she pleaded guilty to the charge involving a child from Poland.

Sentencing for Parris will be on March 9, 2022. Cole is scheduled to be sentenced on May 27.

I hope they receive maximum sentences. I wish that the children and the families were able to receive justice as well. May they heal from this tragic crime.

Content warning: Child abuse

The child adopted from Poland was placed with John and Georgiana Tufts. John Tufts is the son of Debra Parris. John Tufts initially said he was innocent of horrific child abuse. In 2019, he was convicted. He was sentenced to 48 years in jail. I deeply grieve for that child, and for all the children and families that we do not know about who were deeply harmed by those who worked in this adoption agency.