Los Angeles, California - The owner of a Glendora egg donation and surrogacy company pleaded guilty late this afternoon to a federal wire fraud charge and admitted defrauding would-be parents, egg donors and surrogates over the course of more than three years.
Allison Layton, a 38-year-old resident of Star, Idaho, pleaded guilty before United States District Court Judge George H. Wu.
Layton, who owned and operated Miracles Egg Donation and sometimes used the name Allison Jarvie, lived in Glendora during the course of the scheme.
Between August 2008 and January 2012, would-be parents—who in the surrogacy and egg donation world are known as intended parents—paid thousands of dollars for egg donation and surrogacy services that Miracles promised to coordinate. Layton took money—often tens of thousands of dollars—from the intended parents, but, instead of putting the funds into escrow accounts to be withdrawn only for certain costs related to the surrogacy or egg donation, Layton used the money for her own personal expenses or to cover unpaid costs related to other clients.
As a result of Layton’s misappropriation of client funds, egg donors, surrogates, attorneys and others often were not paid for all the services they provided and intended parents often did not receive all the services for which they had paid. At least one investor in Miracles also lost money.
When the donors, surrogates and intended parents sought to recover their money and costs, Layton would lull them into believing they would be repaid through false assurances that payments had already been made or would be made soon.
As a result of the fraud scheme, more than 40 victims lost more than $270,000.
As a result of her pleading guilty to wire fraud, Layton faces a maximum statutory sentence of 20 years in federal prison. Layton is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Wu on May 28.
The investigation into Layton was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.