Woman promises couples babies, delivers heartache
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - For four frustrating years, Holly and Mark Gonzales tried to have children. They spent over $120,000 in the process. Then, last month, they received a call from their adoption attorney saying they had a birth mom who's pregnant with twins due next Friday.
Their attorney put Holly on the phone with the expectant mother who said her name was Kristy Bennett, a 34-year-old single mother of three from Missouri.
"About half an hour later, she sent me a text saying, 'I think you're going to be great parents to the twins,'" Holly said.
As Holly and Mark prepped their empty nursery over the next few days, Kristy Bennett started asking for money. Then their lawyer, who had been checking Bennett's background, called with heartbreaking news. She had just gotten a call back from the doctor's office - and they said they had no record of this woman.
"She's just playing with your emotions and trying to basically get money from you," Mark said.
The Gonzales' ended all contact with Kristy Bennett and got a cold-blooded text message in return. The message read, "The girls were born today. I'm sorry you felt you couldn't be here. They are two very precious babies that are going to foster care."
"Then, she went ahead and sent me two pictures of two newborn babies," Holly said.
CBS News has learned that Kristy Bennett is actually Roxanne Janel Jones. Jones has a criminal record including theft and jumping bail. We first came across her after she defrauded a CBS News employee and his wife, who sent money before realizing they'd been conned.
So, we wondered how many other couple had fallen prey to Roxanne Jones' story. Working with Adoptionscams.net, and the phone numbers and other information Jones had used for her scams, we tracked her down.
Last month, posing as a mother looking to adopt, one of our producers made contact with Jones -- who now said her name was Cindy Stevens. In three weeks our producer received more than 120 text messages and dozens of calls - at all hours - pressing for cash for bills, food and rent. One time Jones called saying she needed $100 right now, or else she'd be evicted. We went along, and wired small amounts of money that were picked up at a check-cashing store.
It all led up to a face-to-face meeting in a two-room hotel suite in Kansas City recently. The room where our producer met with Jones was wired with hidden cameras. Our team watched the meeting on TV monitors in the other room. Jones showed up just four days before she was supposed to give birth to twins.
(Overland Park Police Detective Dennis Reaser asks, "Help us identify other victims, 913-344-8702. We are looking for anyone else that has been victimized or aware of an adoption scam involving the birth mother living in the Kansas City area.)
Our producer, still posing as a mother looking to adopt, asked Jones, "Just tell me the truth, do you really want to give your twins up for adoption?"
"Yes, I can't afford them," she replied.
We wanted to get her to tell her whole story - which she had a hard time keeping straight. First she told us she was having two girls - before the gender suddenly changed - to a boy and a girl.
"You've got the sonograms that someday we can look at," our producer asked.
"Yea, I don't have them. My doctor has them in a file."
"But they're saying they're healthy?"
"Yea, very much so."
The talk then turned to money, and a list of expenses she'd sent the day before. Jones claimed her $80 a month gas bill hadn't been paid.
About 20 minutes into the meeting, we'd learned enough. CBS News Chief Investigative Correspondent Armen Keteyian entered the room to speak with Jones.
"Cindy, I'm Armen Keteyian from CBS News. How are you?"
"Are you guys married," Jones asked?
"I'm with CBS News," Keteyian said. "I just wanted to ask you a few questions, some things about the adoption. You are pregnant, correct?"
"Yea," Jones replied.
"A boy, girl? Two boys? Two girls?"
"A boy and a girl."
"Can we get the doctor's name and the phone number?"
Jones said, "Well, I know, but I don't know who you are."
"We're here to try to determine if you really are Cindy Stevens," Keteyian said.
At that point Jones asked to use the bathroom. Moments later she bolted for the door and into police custody.
As she was being arrested, Jones said, "for what? Please explain. My baby is in the car too."
As it turns out, Roxanne Janel Jones was already on the radar of law enforcement. When the Overland Park Police in Kansas and the U.S. Secret Service learned of our meeting with her, they showed up to arrest her as the result of a separate investigation.
(Roxanne Janel Jones was also known as Kristy Bennett, Cindy Stevens, Tiffany Hayes, Stephanie Isaiah, Kayla Stephens, Stacy Miller.)
We've now learned her Kansas City con used 6 aliases to scam at least 10 families since January. Last week Jones pled not guilty to 3 state charges including theft and identity theft. She likely faces federal charges.
As for the baby in the car? It didn't exist - and there's no proof that Jones is pregnant.
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