Friday, October 19, 2007

America: Waiting Angels Prosecution, Part II: The Legal Cases

Waiting Angels Adoption Services, Inc., an American adoption agency out of Michigan, and its principals, Simone Boraggina and Joseph Beauvais, have been and are now the subject of several lawsuits, including:

  1. A Federal class action suit brought by at least ten named plaintiffs
  2. A civil lawsuit brought in US Federal District Court by at least six adoptive families
  3. And finally a criminal case currently being actively pursued by the Michigan State Attorney General.

1. The Federal Class Action Suit

The essentials of the class action suit, Heinrich et al v. Waiting Angels Adoption Services, Inc. et al. (Case No. 5:06-cv-00168-RHBter), filed in October 2006 by Fixel Law Offices of East Lansing Michigan in U.S. Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on behalf of "ten named plantiffs" (all adoptive parents who were clients of Waiting Angels), is explained in the legal publication, Class Action Reporter, as follows:
"The suit specifically alleged violations of the federal
Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) statute, 18
U.S.C. Section 1961, and various other Michigan statutes and
common law doctrines.


"The suit alleges the adoption agency defrauds vulnerable, would-
be foster [surely using the word "foster" here is a typographical error?] parents by demanding extra money for unspecified fees,
and threatening they will never get their babies unless they
Class action suits have their own special procedures beyond the usual ones for most law suits:

After the complaint is filed, the plaintiff must file a motion to have the class certified. In some cases class certification may require additional discovery in order to determine if the proposed class meets the standard for class certification.

Upon the motion to certify the class, the defendants may object to whether the issues are appropriately handled as a class action, to whether the named plaintiffs are sufficiently representative of the class, and to their relationship with the law firm or firms handling the case. The court will also examine the ability of the firm to prosecute the claim for the plaintiffs, and their resources for dealing with class actions.
It is not clear from public documents (at least those that we could find), what exactly the current legal status of the Waiting Angels Class Action suit is. If anyone has any information on this, especially in a publicly available form, we at Fleasbiting would certainly like to know.

Barring any real information, one could speculate that either the process to certify the class is ongoing or else, the plaintiffs failed to convince the court to certify the class so that the case could proceed as a "class action suit."

A link to the actual text of the Class Action suit as it was filed with the Federal Court is available both below and also here at Class Action Lawsuit: Heinrich et al v. Waiting Angels Adoption Services, Inc. et al. (Case No. 5:06-cv-00168-RHBter), October 2006 by Fixel Law Offices of East Lansing Michigan in U.S. Federal District Court

2. The Federal Civil Suit against Waiting Angels Services, Inc.

Whatever happened with the 2006 Class Action Suit against Waiting Angels, this much is clear: A Federal civil lawsuit was brought by the same plaintiffs plus an additional family which joined shortly after filing, using the same lawyers, on March 27, 2007. This second suit seems to be one and the same case in a slightly different incarnation, for certainly the cases have the same court case numbers and the texts of the complaints are almost exactly the same.

The families allege that they "have all been victims of fraud, misrepresentation, and various violations of Federal Laws." According to court documents the defendants are being charged with four counts (two against Waiting Angels as an entity, one against Boraggina and Beauvais as persons; one against both Waiting Angels and Boraggina and Beauvais) of a scheme to defraud, solicit bribes, extort, and defraud under the Federal RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations)Act; one count of unjust enrichment (Waiting Angels, Boraggina, and Beauvais); one count of conversion; one count of civil conspiracy; one count of concert of action; one count of fraudulent misrepresentation; one count of innocent misrepresentation; and finally one count of exemplary damages explained thus: "Defendants Waiting Angels, Boraggina and/or Beauvais representations were made intentionally and maliciously and have caused suffer humiliation, outrage, indignation, sleepless nights, and emotional distress.

As to the current status of this suit, the law firm maintains a public web page to apprise Waiting Angels families and the general public of the status of the law suit. This website explains the current status law firm that brought the suit on behalf of the families involved:

"After the police raid in April 2007 and while criminal charges were pending, the Plaintiffs in this lawsuit (6 families) were granted a Stay of Proceedings placing the lawsuit on hold until the completion of all criminal proceedings."
A PDF of the 2007 Civil Lawsuit Filed Against Waiting Angels in US Federal District Court is available online at Heinrich et al v. Waiting Angels Adoption Services, Inc., filed 27 March 2007 in US Federal District Court in the Western District of Michigan

3. The Michigan State Attorney General's Criminal Case Against Waiting Angels Services, Inc.

The allegations that resulted in the criminal case are easy to understand if you take the time to watch the four linked videos at the end of this blog post.

Anyone who wants to understand just how unprotected and at the mercy of entrepreneurial adoption agencies adoptive parents are in the current under- and un-regulated adoption climate in the US should definitely take the time to watch them. As the saying goes--a picture is worth a thousand words.

The latest video from the Detroit's Channel 4 Investigative Team gives the latest update on the criminal proceedings. Although the prosecutor on this video mentions a few of the crimes with which Boraggina and Beauvais are likely to be charged, to my knowledge no comprehensive list of these crimes has yet to be published (again someone please correct me if I'm wrong).

According to an update to the lawsuit information page referenced earlier, the status of the criminal case as of October 16, 2007 was as follows:

"Preliminary Hearings were held for Joe Beauvais and Simone Boraggina on September 10 & 11, 2007. The Michigan Attorney General's Office was successful in convincing the Macomb County District Court that probable cause exists and Joe & Simone were bound over to the Macomb County Circuit Court to face criminal charges. Details are not yet known but there will be an arraignment hearing later and a future trial date will be set."
Of interest, in the last Channel 4 video update was Simone's lawyer's plea to the judge to please let Simone, as she awaits criminal trial, forego her court ordered house arrest and tether, so that she could "return to night club dancing" as that was her only means to support herself now that she had lost her only other means of support.

The unsympathetic judge said, "NO WAY."

What I want to know is why the Waiting Angels Services, Inc. web site advertising Simone and Joe's business is still up on the internet. Are they still fielding adoption inqueries from PAP's?


News Video Announcing Arrest of Waiting Angels Principals:
Rescue 4 Undercover: Arrests Made in Adoption Case, Channel 4 Detroit, arrest and search

New Video Showing Confrontation with One of Waiting Angels Principals:
Rescue 4 Undercover: Karen's Confrontation, Channel 4 Detroit, short confrontation

News Video Detailing Waiting Angels' Alleged Modus Operandi:
Rescue 4 Undercover: The Desperation Behind Selling a Baby, Channel 4

News Video (which is mostly audio) in which Attorney General Mike Cox Alleges What Joe & Simone were doing and what he intends to do as Attorney General in Response:
Adoption Scam, 9 & 10, 4 May, 2007

Most Recent News Video Showing First Day of Trial:
Rescue 4 Undercover: Waiting Angels Adoption Scam, Channel 4 Detroit, 13 Sept 2007

Law Firm Summary of Earlier 2006 Class Action Law Suit against Waiting Angels: The Quisenberry Law Firm Newswire, Michigan, "Class Action Says Adoption Agency Just Keeps Demanding More Money," 23 October 2006

IBL, Class Action Reporter, Headlines List, alphabetical under W for Waiting Angels (scroll down for a detailed summary), 27 Oct 2007

PDF of Class Action Law Suit Filed Against Waiting Angels with US Court:
Class Action Lawsuit: Heinrich et al v. Waiting Angels Adoption Services, Inc. et al. (Case No. 5:06-cv-00168-RHBter), October 2006 by Fixel Law Offices of East Lansing Michigan in U.S. Federal District Court

PDF of 2007 Lawsuit Filed Against Waiting Angels with US District Court:
Heinrich et al v. Waiting Angels Adoption Services, Inc., filed 27 March 2007 in US Federal District Court in the Western District of Michigan

Legal Counsel's Summary and Update Page for Waiting Angels Lawsuit: Waiting Angels FAQ: Waiting Angels Litigation, Fixel Law Offices, last updated 12 September 2007

And the Adoption Agency's own website, still up and running and advertising adoption services:
Waiting Angels Adoption Agency Website


  1. I just wanted to say thank you for putting all of this information together for families that may still be suffering, and wondering what is happening with this whole situation. We have gone through literally years of what feels like a living hell, and are anxiously waiting to see the conclusion of all of this for ALL of the families involved. The Attorney General's office will be meeting with Joe, Simone and their attorneys again on February 20th, and we will find out then if they are going to take a plea or force this to trial. The civil portion of this will start up again at the conclusion of the criminal trial. There have been many more families that have come forward and asked to be added to the civil suit, but we will have to wait and see how things stand when the criminal portion is finally concluded. The conviction of these two will not make the pain go away for any of us, but hopefully we will be able to put them permanently out of business and get money returned so we do not have the reminder of this entire situation every time we have to make out a check for the home equity loan that we had to take out to afford this.

    Again, thanks for getting involved!

  2. The RICO lawsuit was dismissed on October 19, 2009. The court held that Plaintiffs failed to state a claim under RICO and dismissed plaintiffs' RICO claims with prejudice. Plaintiffs' state law claims were dismissed without prejudice and can be pursued in state court if the plaintiffs so desire.

  3. On February 7, 2012, the appellate court reversed the district court and found that Joe and Simone did engage in conduct sufficient to assert a claim under RICO. The case has been remanded, or sent back down to the district court to reinstate the RICO claim. I am an attorney and a victim. I brought my daughter home in June, 2006, after years of trying to complete the adoption and $32,000 spent. There is a special place in Hell for Simone and Joe. Angelina M. Whittington (f/k/a Stayton), Valrico, FL