Two charged in adoption agency fraud investigation

Nadia Matos on the adoption agency charges
Two people are facing numerous fraud charges in connection with an investigation at Cambridge-based Imagine Adoption Inc.
Date: Friday Apr. 8, 2011 11:13 AM ET
Two people have been arrested and charged in connection with fraud allegations at the Cambridge-based Imagine Adoption Inc.

The non-profit adoption agency filed for bankruptcy in July 2009, and after public complaints, police launched an extensive investigation.

Waterloo Regional police, working with the RCMP, arrested and charged 46-year-old Rick Hayhow in Cambridge, Ont. and 45-year-old Susan Hayhow in Whitby, Ont. on Thursday.

Rick Hayhow was the general manager, while Susan Hayhow was the founder and executive director of Imagine Adoption Inc.

The two have been charged jointly with one count of breach of trust, six counts of fraud over $5,000 and three counts of fraud under $5,000. Individually they have each been charged with one count of fraud over $5,000.

Over $420,000 in agency funds are alleged to have been used for personal expenses including vacations, clothing and renovations to their Cambridge residence.

Police say a large number of financial documents were reviewed and numerous clients of the agency were interviewed as part of the investigation.

The bankruptcy of Imagine Adoption Inc. made headlines nearly two years ago when it left a number of parents in the process of adopting children from several African countries in limbo.

Many had already spent thousands on the adoption process.

Both Rick and Susan Hayhow have been released and are expected to return to a Cambridge court on May 26.

Anyone with additional information is asked to contact police at 619-650-8500 Ext. 8370 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.