Guilty Plea in Adoption Scheme

Date: 1999-10-02

Guilty Plea in Adoption Scheme
Published: October 2, 1999

A lawyer accused of running an adoption ring in which he and two Long Island women smuggled babies to the New York region from Mexico pleaded guilty yesterday to a conspiracy charge.

The lawyer, Mario Manuel Reyes, 41, an Arizona resident and American citizen licensed to practice law in Mexico, entered the plea before Judge Jacob Mishler in Federal District Court in Uniondale, N.Y., admitting that he conspired to transport the children and conceal that they were in the United States illegally.

But in a statement to the court, his lawyer, Stephen P. Scaring, said Mr. Reyes had acted on humanitarian grounds to find financially and emotionally stable parents in the United States for infants born in Mexico to prostitutes or destitute mothers who would otherwise have had abortions. In an interview afterward, Mr. Scaring said his client is Roman Catholic and opposed to abortion.

The Government contended that Mr. Reyes and the two Long Island women, Arlene Lieberman and Arlene Reingold, both of Medford, arranged to sell at least 17 Mexican children to adoptive parents, most of them on Long Island.

Mr. Reyes, whose law office in Mexico was near his residence in the border town of Douglas, Ariz., typically charged more than $20,000, the Government said.

Mr. Reyes, who is free on $1 million bond, faces a prison term of 33 to 41 months and a fine of up to $250,000 when he is sentenced on Dec. 17. As part of the plea arrangement, he agreed to pay a total of $125,000 to the adoptive parents over 10 years and prosecutors dropped four other conspiracy charges.

Mrs. Lieberman and Mrs. Reingold pleaded guilty to conspiracy in July and are awaiting sentencing.


Pound Pup Legacy