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Woman indicted on 30 counts for surrogacy fraud, attempted kidnapping in Steuben County

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

MaryBeth Lewis, a 66-year-old woman from Elma, New York, has been indicted by a Steuben County grand jury on multiple charges related to a surrogacy fraud scheme.

According to District Attorney Brooks Baker, Lewis engaged in a fraudulent surrogacy contract with a woman in Steuben County, leading to the surrogate’s pregnancy with two children through donor egg and sperm, without any biological link to Lewis or her husband.

Lewis was arrested following the indictment, which accused her of filing false documents and creating fake exhibits for the court.

The fraudulent activities perpetrated by Lewis included forging affidavits, financial reports, notaries, and signatures – including that of her unaware husband. The scheme unraveled when the judge overseeing the surrogacy agreement discovered the fraudulent documents and refused to grant custody of the newborns to Lewis.

In response, Lewis allegedly attempted to take the infants from the hospital where they were born. She was arraigned in Steuben County court on 30 counts, including attempted kidnapping, forgery, and identity theft, and was released on her own recognizance. Orders of protection were issued for the babies, and Lewis is scheduled to return to court in February.

Steuben County Child Protective Services and Department of Social Services are now involved in the case, ensuring the well-being of the two infants, who are reported to be in good health and care. Lewis’s charges span a wide range of criminal offenses, highlighting the severity and complexity of the surrogacy fraud scheme she orchestrated. This case has drawn attention to the legal and ethical complexities surrounding surrogacy agreements and the importance of rigorous oversight to prevent exploitation and fraud.