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Woman Given 2-Year Term for Baby Sale Fraud


A 28-year-old Canoga Park woman was sentenced to two years in prison Tuesday after admitting she tried to dupe two couples into buying her unborn baby.

It was her second conviction for baby selling in four years.

Janice Robinson, who gave birth to the baby boy in County Jail on Aug. 12, found the couples by advertising her son for sale three months ago in a local shopping guide.

Robinson, who was originally charged as Jana Marie Brown, pleaded no contest--the legal equivalent of a guilty plea--to one count of grand theft and was immediately sentenced to two years in prison by Van Nuys Superior Court Judge Leon Kaplan.

Robinson was sentenced in July to 16 months in prison for violating her probation from a 1988 baby-selling case.

Her attorney, Deputy Public Defender James M. Coady, said she could be released from prison in 11 months.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Herbert R. Lapin said that although private adoptions are legal under certain circumstances, Robinson violated the law by "attempting to sell the baby to two couples at the same time."

Coady said that Robinson "kept asking for more money and that was her downfall."

Robinson, who police said admitted she was a drug addict at the time of her arrest June 28, was charged after the two couples complained to police that she had deceived them by promising both they could adopt her baby if they paid her living expenses.

At a preliminary hearing last month, Daniel Dreifus of Simi Valley testified that after responding to Robinson's ad in the Recycler, he and his wife paid Robinson $1,000, expecting to adopt the baby.

Sharen Chehab of Northridge testified she paid Robinson $2,500 after receiving the same promise.

Police said that the manager of a Canoga Park motel on Hart Street, where Robinson was staying, alerted the couples to Robinson's double dealing.

Coady said that the Dreifus couple currently are foster parents to the baby, and are in the process of adopting him. A woman answering the telephone at the Dreifus home declined comment.

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