The owner of a Utah adoption agency out of American fork has been arrested after he stole funds from hopeful families looking to adopt.
James Charles Webb was arrested earlier this month after four families eager to adopt newborns claimed he stole funds from by accepting over $100,000 and promised them he would help them adopt babies. Webb, the owner of Adoption Center of Choice in American Fork Utah, accepted the hefty payments from the families; however he was operating on a revoked business license. Webb’s business license was put on suspension, and later revoked while he was instructed to not obtain any new clients.
Theft by deception
Disregarding instructions to refrain from carrying out adoptions, Webb accepted the four families’ payments, promising them they would be holding their new babies soon. After many excuses as to why the adoptions were not happening, the families realized Webb didn’t have a business license anymore and told authorities he stole funds from them through deception. Theft by deception is defined by Utah Code 76-6-405 as when “A person commits theft if the person obtains or exercises control over property of another person: by deception; and with a purpose to deprive the other person of property.”
Stole funds or operated without a valid license?
Webb is facing four second degree felonies for theft by deception along with third degree felonies related to tax evasion. Before he is sentenced to years behind bars, it is important to know if he stole the funds and planned on deceiving the families or merely operated without a valid license. Was he actively trying to find newborns for the families to adopt or did he not make any attempts at all to find birth mothers willing to adopt? Did he have “a purpose to deprive” the families of money? Anyone who is facing criminal charges, whether or not there was criminal intent, are encouraged to seek counsel from a criminal defense attorney.