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June 1, 2012 permalink
An Alaska couple found a unique way to profit from adoption. After Edward Drones and Lori Wiley-Drones adopted ten-year-old A.D. in 2001, they sued the state of Alaska for allowing their adopted son to remain in the care of his abusive father. They collected $824,000 for the boy, then stole the entire fund from his account.
Couple charged with draining adopted son's bank account
Federal prosecutors say an Alaska couple stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from their adopted son, who won the money from the state in a settlement.
A grand jury handed up an indictment Wednesday for Edward Drones, 61, and his wife, Lori Wiley-Drones, 57, that alleges two dozen counts of felony wire fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
The state of Alaska put the boy -- called "A.D." in the indictment -- into the Drones' custody as a foster child in 1996, when he was 5 or 6 years old. The Drones formally adopted him in 2001, the indictment says. The couple sued the state for "failure to protect" A.D. in 2005, claiming the boy, who was born to a drug- and alcohol-addicted mother, was allowed to live with his abusive and neglectful father, according to the lawsuit.
The state agreed to pay the boy about $824,000 just before he turned 18, and his foster parents, the Drones, moved to have a conservator appointed to control the boy's money, the indictment says.
"Wiley-Drones told the court that A.D.'s property would be 'wasted and dissipated unless proper management is provided,' " the indictment says.
A year after the settlement, Wiley-Drones told the court-appointed conservator the teenager had decided to buy a house. The conservator objected to that idea, as well as a subsequent request by the foster parents to be paid more than $1,600 a month for A.D.'s care, the indictment says.
The Drones eventually got the conservator removed, took control of the boy's finances, including a bank card they used to drain his accounts, the indictment says.
The U.S. Attorney's Office says the foster parents took an average of $1,000 a day in their first month controlling his funds. They went on to buy a $220,000 home in Washington state, spent $49,000 on vehicles for themselves when A.D. did not have a driver's license, and dropped more than $25,000 on expensive jewelry for the adoptive mother, among other items, the indictment alleges. They also made about $124,000 in online payments for bills on credit cards that were not in the boy's name, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
In the end, the Drones spent all but $15.05 of A.D.'s $824,000 settlement, the prosecutors say.
Edward Drones was arrested in Anchorage on Wednesday, according to court documents. Lori Wiley-Drones was arrested in Washington the same day.
Federal prosecutors are seeking forfeiture of the Washington home, a mobile home in Anchorage, and more than two dozen items of women's fine jewelry, according to the indictment. The prosecutors also say the will seek as much as $775,000 in cash.
Reach Casey Grove at email@example.com or 257-4589.
Source: Anchorage Daily News