Fraudulent Adult Adoption Ring Sold U.S. Citizenship for $10,000

WASHINGTON TIMES — Five hundred illegal immigrants paid as much as $10,000 apiece to try to buy their way into U.S. citizenship through a fraudulent adult adoption program, federal prosecutors said Thursday as they unveiled an indictment against the man they said ran the scheme.

Helaman Hansen, the ringleader, assured the illegal immigrants that adult adoption was a legitimate way to take advantage of part of the law that allows citizenship in certain adoption cases, authorities said. However, the law cannot be used for adoptions of those over 16.

The scheme was targeted at illegal immigrants here in the U.S.

Initially Mr. Hansen and his co-conspirators charged $150 when they began in 2012, but the fee has since risen to $10,000, prosecutors said. The high cost signals just how valuable a legal foothold is even to those who often have few means.

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