Friday, 02 October 2009 00:00
Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice has announced that a Roslyn attorney and founder of a nonprofit organization that provides services to adoptive parents and children, has been arrested for stealing thousands of dollars from prospective parents by promising them babies that didn’t exist.
Kevin Cohen, 41, was arrested at his home on Sept. 25 by DA investigators and charged with Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, and Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Third Degree. Cohen faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted. He was arraigned that day in First District Court, Hempstead.
Rice said that from May 2007 until the time of his arrest, Cohen held himself out as a legal expert in adoption proceedings and was able to obtain large sums of money from couples to arrange adoptions. Couples gave Cohen the money believing it would be held in escrow to pay for the medical costs and other expenses of birth mothers who wished to have their children adopted.
The district attorney’s office began investigating Cohen in May 2008. He was arrested by the Nassau County Police Department’s Crimes Against Property Squad in December 2008 on attempted grand larceny, forgery, and identity theft charges in connection with his attempts to steal his own home. Rice said Cohen does not own the home, but it is held in trust for him. That case is currently pending.
Rice said Cohen, however, continued to seek out new couples looking to adopt during the pendency of those charges. The DA stated that one couple paid Cohen $65,000 after he claimed that he had located two prospective out-of-state birth mothers who were looking to give up their babies for adoption. In reality, these birth mothers did not exist and were fabricated by Cohen.
Cohen went as far as to create forged medical records and information for the fake birth mothers which he gave to a number of other couples looking to adopt, Rice said.
The investigation is ongoing and the district attorney’s office suspects that Cohen may have defrauded additional prospective adoptive parents.
Rice said that she believes some potential victims have been reluctant to come forward based on the emotional toll their prospective adoption has taken on their family, and the hope that Cohen will still arrange a legal adoption.
Anyone who believes that they may be the victim of Cohen’s deception or who has relevant information, should contact ADA Andrew Garbarino or Deputy Chief Karen Bennett of the Public Corruption Bureau at the following number: 516-680-8624.
“Kevin Cohen has not only stolen money from these couples, but he has crushed their dream of becoming parents,” Rice said. “This is among the most morally disgusting thefts I have ever witnessed as a prosecutor. He preyed on the emotions and the hopes of couples at their most vulnerable time. I strongly encourage anyone who believes they are a victim of this man’s scheme to contact my office immediately.”
Cohen founded the nonprofit Adoption Annex in Roslyn in 2004 to provide services, seminars, and information to adoptive parents and children of adoption.
Handling the case for the DA’s office are ADA Garbarino and Deputy Chief Bennett.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.