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Ex-trustee in court over adoption fraud


Ex-trustee in court over adoption fraud

The lawyer representing an Erie woman accused of bilking several would-be parents out of tens of thousands of dollars told a judge Monday police have no evidence she did anything wrong.

Police arrested Lisa Novak, a former Erie trustee, in April. She was charged with two counts of felony theft and one count of felony fraud in connection with her work for the Claar Foundation, a now-defunct adoption agency.

Novak was in court Monday for a preliminary hearing. The hearing will resume Friday.

Jaspal Singh, one of the prosecution witnesses, said Novak took at least $25,000 in fees for an adoption that fell through because she misfiled paperwork.

Singh also said Novak urged him and his wife, Linda, to falsify a document to increase their odds of success as they tried to adopt their second child from Guatemala.

Singh said the adoption never happened because of Novak's negligence and that she refused to return the money.

Novak's lawyer, Lance Goff, said the Singhs' contract explicitly refused to guarantee successful adoptions. He suggested that it was the Singhs who bumbled the adoption bureaucracy.

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Daily Camera

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

2008 May 20