Executives to stand trial on eight charges in Imagine Adoption fraud case

Relates to: 

KITCHENER — Three more charges were dropped Wednesday as the estranged husband and wife behind an international adoption agency were committed to stand trial for fraud.

Rick and Susan Hayhow initially faced a dozen counts related to hundreds of thousands of dollars allegedly spent on personal items while they ran Imagine Adoption.

Eight charges now remain after the prosecution withdrew four counts during a two-day preliminary hearing that wrapped up in Kitchener court.

Three of the dropped charges related to cheques written to a home renovation company. Further investigation by police determined they were for legitimate business expenses.

The Hayhows consented to their committal for trial on the remaining counts.

Imagine Adoption, which primarily arranged adoptions from Ethiopia, left more than 400 families across Canada in the lurch after it went into bankruptcy in July 2009.

Suspect expenses at the non-profit, Cambridge-based agency included family vacations, high-end clothing, home renovations, cosmetic dental surgery and a horse and saddle.

The case returns to court in late September to begin the process of setting dates for a trial.

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