Quick Note to Close a Loop: Jail for Surrogacy Fraud

Over the summer I wrote about a surrogacy fraud operation that was run by some rather high-profile lawyers.   It’s a dreadful story and you can take a few moments to read the earlier post as I won’t go into detail here.

One of the lawyers involved was Hilary Neiman.   She plead guilty and has just been sentenced–to five months in prison.   (I notice it also refers to her as a “former lawyer” which makes me think she lost or gave up her license to practice law.)   In addition to jail time she faces house arrest (7 months) and a forfeit the proceeds of the fraud (fine ($133,000).   (Unless of course this other account is accurate–for the reporting here is a bit different.)

I don’t really have a view about whether the sentence is appropriate.   I’m not a huge fan of long-term imprisonment.  The real points here, it seems to me, are to prevent her from doing this again, to deter others, and to ensure that we really can gain a full understanding of what happened in this case.  That last means that I hope she is going to be fully cooperative in divulging what she knows about what was done.

What’s really shocking here to me is that all the wrongdoing netted Neiman $133,000.  Imagine engaging in such widespread and egregious conduct for such a small sum.   Neiman and her cohorts took advantage of very vulnerable people to gain what amounted to a few extra dollars.   (Neiman was a successful lawyer already and so had to have been earning some money that was legitimate.)

In any event, if all other regulation of ART fails, the criminal law is the last backstop and here you can see it in action.   I don’t think Erickson has been sentenced and I wonder if we’ll ever know the full scope of what transpired.   Time may tell.  (But then again, maybe not.)



4 responses to “Quick Note to Close a Loop: Jail for Surrogacy Fraud

  1. You make a good point about how relatively small the sum of money is that the attorneys made. Certainly not worth going to jail for if you’re an attorney who can make double or triple that in year by just practicing law. These are not the master criminals the media wishes them to be. True criminal ringleaders are tougher to catch, don’t plead guilty as easily and don’t work for so little money.

    • I’m inclined to agree with you, but I’m also inclined to think that many criminals just aren’t all that smart. There’s a combination of arrogance and laziness that might lead you there if you weren’t thinking very hard and didn’t have much moral senese. I suppose this could be one of those cases?

  2. Certainly not worth going to jail for that little bit of money, but she never expect to get caught, so she was hoping to “earn” much more than this.

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