A 25-year-old California woman has been sentenced to two years in federal prison for violating the terms of her supervised release by once again offering her unborn child to at least three prospective adoptive parents.
Sateva Seals, now of Livingston (Merced County) but formerly of Lancaster (Los Angeles County), was sentenced for violating the terms of her release Monday afternoon in Los Angeles by United States District Judge Audrey B. Collins.
Seals pleaded guilty in February 2000 to two counts of mail fraud and three counts of wire fraud. In May 2000, she was sentenced to 14 months in federal prison for offering her unborn child and her 1-year-old son to a series of couples who wanted to adopt the children. This term of imprisonment was to be followed by three years of supervised release.
In this scheme, which she perpetrated from August through November of 1997, Seals used three Southern California adoption agencies and a Utah adoption attorney to contact six couples interested in adopting her children. The adoptive couples were from Encino, Beverly Hills, San Juan Capristrano, Cypress, Laguna Beach and Salt Lake City.
During the course of the scheme, Seals made promises to three couples that they could adopt her 1-year-old son. She promised two couples that they could adopt her then-unborn child. Seals assured the couples that the deals were legitimate by accepting money to pay for living and medical expenses and, in one case, by signing a letter of intent.
At the time, Seals and her 1-year-old child were both wards of the State of California. Seals was not legally entitled to offer her child for adoption, her son was not eligible to be adopted, and she did not have the monthly expenses she claimed.
After serving her federal prison term, Seals was released and moved to Livingston, where she used the names “Tammy Fields” and “Sateva Solience.” Once in Livingston, Seals attempted to have multiple couples adopt another unborn child. In addition to having the victims pay her rent, medical expenses and telephone bills, Seals accepted thousands of dollars in assistance from the prospective adoptive couples. An case worker at one of the adoption agencies involved learned of this scheme when she contacted a local hospital to make arrangements for the delivery of the baby and learned that another adoption agency had already contacted the hospital.
In January 2002, Seals was convicted in state court of grand theft for taking money from the multiple adoptive couples. She completed a prison sentence in October and was turned over to federal authorities at that time.
Because Seals committed the grand theft while on federal supervised release, Seals was accused of violating the terms of her release by committing a state crime. Appearing in court yesterday, Seals admitted to committing a crime while on supervised release. Based on this admission, Judge Collins revoked supervised release and sentenced Seals to two years in federal prison, the maximum term available to the court. Noting that the crime affected numerous individuals, including Seals’own children who were often present while she was talking about putting them up for adoption, Judge Collins said it was one of the saddest cases she had ever seen.