Former Adoption Agency Owner Arrested

from: thedenverchannel.com

Agency Closed December 2007

BOULDER, Colo. -- Boulder police have arrested the former owner of the Claar Foundation.

Lisa Novak, 48, is accused of defrauding two families as they attempted to adopt international children.

According to a news release from the Boulder Police Department, Mr. & Mrs. Singh (first names withheld to protect their identity) paid Novak $36,466 in fees to help them adopt a child in Guatemala. They adopted that child, a son, at the end of 2007. They paid Novak another $25,700 to help them adopt a second child they met in Guatemala, a girl, but were told a few weeks later that adoption wasn't going to happen and the foundation was closing. They told investigators they did not receive a refund or the records they needed.

The Boulder Police Department release goes on to say the family contacted the orphanage in Guatemala directly and were told the check to cover costs and fees of their first adoption was returned for insufficient funds, so the orphanage would not help them with their second adoption.

Boulder police say as they were investigating the Singhs' case, another woman came forward with a similar story. Ms. Kuzdek (first name withheld to protect her identity) told police she paid the Claar Foundation about $19,000 to adopt a child from Guatemala. After months of waiting, she did not receive a referral for a child and asked for her money back. She told police she even went to arbitration in November 2007 and was awarded a full refund, but has not received any money.

The news release from Boulder police said Novak was arrested on charges of theft over $20,000, theft between $500 and $15,000 and fraud by check. All three charges are felonies. Novak was booked into the Boulder County Jail. She was released after posting a $10,000 bond.

The Claar Foundation in Boulder closed in December 2007.

Boulder police are asking anyone with information about Lisa Novak or these cases to contact Detective Jeff Kithcart at 303-441-3330.

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