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Baby-Selling Case Ends With Wire Fraud Plea Deal

May 20, 2003|From a Times Staff Writer

An Irvine woman once accused of running an international baby-selling operation was sentenced Monday to 21 months in prison for wire fraud and ordered to pay $5,000 in fines.

Marianne Gati, 54, said only, "Thank you," when U.S. District Judge Alicemarie Stotler let her address the court.

It was a quiet ending to a seven-year battle in which prosecutors struggled to build a baby-selling case.

The case made international headlines when federal authorities alleged that she had arranged the sale of as many as 30 Hungarian infants, some for as much as $80,000.

She also was sentenced to three years' probation.

Her husband, Thomas Gati, 52, was sentenced to a year's probation and fined $5,000. He pleaded guilty to having filed a tax return in 1994 that failed to disclose the adoption income.

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