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Mother Pleads Guilty to Fraud

November 01, 2001|Associated Press

ST. LOUIS — The mother of twin girls caught in a transatlantic adoption dispute pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges Wednesday, admitting she lied to get rent subsidies, food stamps and unemployment benefits.

Tranda Wecker, 29, of St. Louis, could face up to a year in jail. Sentencing was set for Jan. 18.

There is no apparent connection between the fraud case and the adoption dispute.

Wecker and her estranged husband, Aaron Wecker, twice agreed to put the girls up for adoption through an Internet service.

A California couple paid $6,000 before the adoption was halted. Then, a Welsh couple, Judith and Alan Kilshaw, paid $12,000 to adopt the twins. The adoption was voided by a court and the Kilshaws gave up their custody fight earlier this year.

The Weckers, who are getting a divorce, are both seeking custody of the girls. Now 16 months old, they are in state care in Missouri while a judge decides the custody issue.

Tranda Wecker was indicted in August on nine felony counts of filing false statements to obtain government benefits and one count of mail fraud.

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