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Woman sentenced in Russian adoption scam

Date: 2006-09-26

A woman convicted of bilking couples out of nearly $100,000 after promising to help them adopt Russian children was placed on electronically monitored home detention for two years Monday in federal court.

Victoria Farahan, 42, a Russian native who lives in Carmel, also was sentenced to five years probation as part of a plea agreement on charges of mail and wire fraud, according to federal prosecutors.

Farahan pleaded guilty in June as part of a deal with the U.S. attorney's office.

Authorities say Farahan told couples that she worked with an international agency and could use her Russian contacts to help them adopt children from that country.

According to a grand jury indictment, Farahan gave couples photos of children she said were Russian and available for adoption. Among the photos was one of her own child, taken when the child was an infant.

Despite the exchange of money, no adoptions were ever completed, authorities said.

U.S. District Judge Larry McKinney also fined Farahan $2,000 and ordered her to make restitution in the amount of $7,718. The victims already have been repaid $97,500.

Farahan speaks fluent English. In 1990, she served as interpreter for Olga Korbut when the famed gymnast visited Indianapolis to pick up medicines donated to help survivors of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

U.S. adoptions of children from the former Soviet Union are not uncommon. According to the U.S. State Department, more than 4,600 Russian orphans were issued visas to come to the U.S. during the 2005 budget year, second only to the number from China.

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