Nigerian woman bought a baby for £150 to qualify for a council house in Britain

A housing support worker, who smuggled a baby from Nigeria in a "callous" bid to get a free flat, was jailed for 26 months in the UK today.

Peace Sandberg, 40, branded "manipulative and a stranger to the truth" by the judge, is believed by police to have paid £150 for the three-month-old boy in her native country.
She then used a forged birth certificate to get a visa for him from the British High Commission there.
Within hours of landing at Heathrow, the fraudster, a former Kensington Housing Trust support worker who had been living in a hostel, was at Ealing Council's homeless persons unit, cradling the child in her arms
She claimed she had returned to Africa in December 2006 to give birth and now needed a flat for herself and her "son".
But London's Isleworth Crown Court heard Sandberg was immediately recognised by housing officer Lizette Reddy.
And she clearly remembered Sandberg - who holds joint Nigerian and Swedish nationality - not being pregnant when she saw her two months earlier.
But Sandberg denied any wrongdoing, claiming she had adopted her cousin's orphaned son to give him a better life in Britain.
She also insisted she took the £150 to Nigeria simply to help care for him while she was out there.
However, those trying the case took just 40 minutes to unanimously decide she was lying and convict her of one count of child trafficking.
To begin with she remained impassive as Judge Sam Kathkuda told her it was clear she had lied repeatedly during the "pre-planned and pre-meditated" operation to breach Britain's immigration laws.
The evidence also showed she had played on the sympathy of British High Commission staff in Nigeria by turning up early for her appointment, appearing "hysterical" and thereby avoiding the usual visa application interview.
"The question the prosecution counsel put to the jury was whether they were sure you had lied in order to being that child into the country.
"They decided you were not telling the truth to anybody about that child, and that you deliberately and fraudulently trafficked this child into the country in effect knowing you were going to use that child for the purpose of fraudulently obtaining benefit of housing."
He continued: "In my judgment, based on what I have heard during the trial and all the reports before are a person who is manipulative and a stranger to the truth."
At this point Sandberg burst into tears, insisting: "I am not a liar. I have never told a lie in my life...I have done nothing wrong."
After explaining immediate imprisonment was inevitable, the judge added: "Your deportation I leave to the Home Office."
Outside court Detective Inspector Gordon Valentine, of the joint police and immigration service Paladin team, which investigates child trafficking and exploitation, welcomed the sentence.
"This is the first case I am aware of where a child has been smuggled into Britain to get a free home."
He said although the matter had not been tested in court there was clear "circumstantial evidence" to suggest she paid money for the child.
"It is quite shocking what she did. She took this child from its home environment and brought it here with the sole intention of exploiting him for benefits."
"It shows her callousness in exploiting an innocent child purely for her own benefit without considering the child's future in any way whatsoever.
"It now seems that child is going to grow up knowing nothing of his identity, where he has come from or even who his real parents are."
His colleague Detective Superintendent Sue Knight, said: "As far as we know she has not provided any information or assistance to help identify that child and has left him with a difficult predicament when he grows up."
DI Valentine added that although Sandberg's case was not the first involving children being brought into Britain illegally, babies only featured in a "minority" of them.
"We have no reason to believe it is a widespread problem," said the officer.
Councillor Ian Green, Ealing Council's portfolio holder for housing, said: "It's disgusting that this woman was trying to bring a baby into the country illegally to try to cheat a priority place on the housing register.
"It's horrifying to think that someone would try to use an innocent child in that way.
"It was only because one of our eagle-eyed housing officers had concerns about the woman that the police were alerted and were able to investigate.
"I hope this acts as a strong deterrent to other people who might be tempted to try to cheat the system."
Sandberg's five-day trial heard that in May, 2006, she had been renting a private property in Twyford Avenue, Acton, when a combination of rent arrears and disputes with neighbours forced her to leave.
She contacted the local council for help only for them to decided she had made herself "intentionally homeless".
Officials explained, however, they could provide temporary accommodation, but only because she had a 12-year-old daughter.
Sometime later police and social services learnt the young girl had returned to her father in Sweden, and told Sandberg she faced eviction.
Shortly afterwards the defendant bought return tickets to Nigeria for herself and the child, returning weeks later with the little boy.
Jurors were not given a full account of what police believe happened once she arrived, and were told only she collected the baby.
Recalling Sandberg's visit to council offices, Ms Reddy said: "She told me the baby was hers but I said 'No' because I had not seen her pregnant when I last saw her on November 1.
"I asked her three times 'Whose baby is this?' and she said 'It's mine'. I understood she had come straight to the council offices from the airport."
After further questioning, Sandberg admitted the child was not hers, but then insisted it was her cousin's baby and she had died.
"She said she decided to send some money for the child and she went over because she wanted to care of the child. One minute she tells me something, the next minute she tells me something else," the witness added.
Sandberg was arrested and police later found a forged birth certificate claiming she was the mother and her estranged husband, Kenneth, the father.
Chris Beddoe, of the Ecpat UK pressure group, which campaigns for tougher laws against child traffickers, said: "We were shocked at how callous Miss Sandberg was, carefully planning the whole thing and using an innocent child for her own ends.
"We are seeing increasing evidence that children are being trafficked into Britain for benefit fraud.
"They arrive from all over the world and our concern is what happens when they have served their purpose.
"Mrs Sandberg was prosecuted as an offender under immigration law and too many cases like this go unnoticed for that reason. "It is about time the government realised we need a trafficking law for child exploitation...which would make individuals like her easier to prosecute," she added.
This is just one example of how children are being bought and sold for very devious purposes. Victoria Climbie (The little girl who was murdered by her 'aunt' and her boyfriend) had been used by her 'aunt' to collect handouts in France and then here in Britain. There is a certain 'church' operating in Britain, which gives 'acquired' babies' to childless couples and then calls them miracle children! It is to be hoped that if the baby, in this reported case, can't be reunited with his natural parents that he will be found loving adoptive parents.- Tessa Boo, London
Yes, it's terrible that she has attempted to defraud the system but my main worries are for the baby. If many people are devious and immoral enough to do this scam for their own gain, what becomes of the children? Do they care for these poor innocent babies properly? So many stories of children being treated so badly upsets me.- Jan, London


A mere bag of shells, compared to American Standards

Over the past few years, I have been weaned into the TRUE stories behind adoption-practices.  The incentives given to everyone BUT the child is staggering. 

Allow me to introduce what takes place in the USA:

After the adoption is finalized, the State and federal subsidies continue. The adoptive parents may collect cash subsidies until the child is 18. If the child stays in school, subsidies continue to the age of 22. There are State funded subsidies as well as federal funds through the Title IV-E section of the Social Security Act. The daily rate for State funds is the same as the foster care payments, which range from $410-$486 per month per child. Unless the child can be designated "special needs," which of course, they all can. 

According to the NAATRIN State Subsidy profile from DSS, "special needs" may be defined as: "Physical disability, mental disability, emotional disturbance; a significant emotional tie with the foster parents where the child has resided with the foster parents for one or more years and separation would adversely affect the child’s development if not adopted by them." [But their significant emotional ties with their parents, since birth, never enter the equation.] 

Additional "special needs" designations are: a child twelve years of age or older; racial or ethnic factors; child having siblings or half-siblings. In their report on the State of the Children, Boston’s Institute for Children says: "In part because the States can garner extra federal funds for special needs children the designation has been broadened so far as to become meaningless." "Special needs" children may also get an additional Social Security check. 

The adoptive parents also receive Medicaid for the child, a clothing allowance and reimbursement for adoption costs such as adoption fees, court and attorney fees, cost of adoption home study, and "reasonable costs of food and lodging for the child and adoptive parents when necessary to complete the adoption process." Under Title XX of the Social Security Act adoptive parents are also entitled to post adoption services "that may be helpful in keeping the family intact," including "daycare, specialized daycare, respite care, in-house support services such as housekeeping, and personal care, counseling, and other child welfare services". [Wow! Everything short of being knighted by the Queen!] 

The subsidy profile actually states that it does not include money to remodel the home to accommodate the child. But, as subsidies can be negotiated, remodeling could possibly be accomplished under the "innovative incentives to remove barriers to adoption" section. The subsidy regulations read that "adoption assistance is based solely on the needs of the child without regard to the income of the family." What an interesting government policy when compared to the welfare program that the same child’s mother may have been on before losing her children, and in which she may not own anything, must prove that she has no money in the bank; no boats, real estate, stocks or bonds; and cannot even own a car that is safe to drive worth over $1000. This is all so she can collect $539 per month for herself and two children. The foster parent who gets her children gets $820 plus. We spit on the mother on welfare as a parasite who is bleeding the taxpayers, yet we hold the foster and adoptive parents [who are bleeding ten times as much from the taxpayers] up as saints. The adoptive and foster parents aren’t subjected to psychological evaluations, ink blot tests, MMPI’s, drug & alcohol evaluations, or urine screens as the parents are. 

Adoption subsidies may be negotiated on a case by case basis. [Anyone ever tried to "negotiate" with the Welfare Department?] There are many e-mail lists and books published to teach adoptive parents how to negotiate to maximize their subsidies. As one pro writes on an e-mail list: "We receive a subsidy for our kids of $1,900 per month plus another $500 from the State of Florida. We are trying to adopt three more teens and we will get subsidies for them, too. It sure helps out with the bills." 

I can’t help but wonder why we don’t give this same level of support to the children’s parents in the first place? According to Cornell University, about 68% of all child protective cases "do not involve child maltreatment." The largest percentage of CPS/DSS cases are for "deprivation of necessities" due to poverty. So, if the natural parents were given the incredible incentives and services listed above that are provided to the adoptive parents, wouldn’t it stand to reason that the causes for removing children in the first place would be eliminated? How many less children would enter foster care in the first place? The child protective budget would be reduced from $12 billion to around $4 billion. Granted, tens of thousands of social workers, administrators, lawyers, juvenile court personnel, therapists, and foster parents would be out of business, but we would have safe, healthy, intact families, which are the foundation of any society. 

More disturbing is the discussion found here:, as it discusses the  Child Tax Credit used by "qualified individuals".

Yes, it takes money to keep money, doesn't it?

The world upside down

Staggering indeed. Thanks for this posting. I had no idea about these adoption subventions/subsidies, apart from the adoption tax relief. I did know about the negative attitude towards 'welfare queens'.  Speechless.

Private Pockets

..... but WAIT.... it gets better because private companies offer perks and privledges most natural parents would never dream of having or keeping.

Though government may be slow to recognize a father's need to bond with his newborn child, more companies are giving fathers paid time off to supplement maternal family leaves. At Rodale, Johnson & Johnson and Ikea North America Services, fathers receive one week of paid leave to spend with their child.  

At Minnesota hospitality company Carlson, adoptive parents have six paid weeks off to bond and travel with their child, according to the Working Mother survey. Moreover, 22% of companies surveyed by the Society for Human Resource Management, including Verizon Communications, are starting to provide adoption assistance that can total up to $10,000.   8 Work Perks You WIsh You Had

In fact, this is not so new or different for many companies.

As more companies have gotten family-friendly, several in St. Louis offer a special benefit that one might not expect—financial aid for adoption. The St. Louis-based architecture firm, HOK, was among the first companies of its size to provide adoption assistance benefits, implementing the program in 1998. At that time, only 23 percent of 1,000 large companies offered employees financial assistance for adoption. HOK offers $2,500 on a pre-tax basis that can be used for anything from legal fees to travel expenses. Enterprise and Cap Gemini Ernst & Young have similar programs.  Powerful Perks For A Job Well Done

Is it any wonder why so many industries (take a look at Holt's list of supporting companies: ) show a special interest in adoption?

Pound Pup Legacy