294: Darin Werkmeister – Tender Hearts Adoption Scam

In this episode, retired agent Darin Werkmeister reviews his adoption scam case, where subject Sonya Furlow solicited unsuspecting hoped-to-be parents via the internet, leading them to believe she would facilitate adoptions with pregnant young women seeking to find homes for their babies.

Furlow was convicted of scamming 43 heartbroken couples. The investigation received national news attention, warning others of the cruel adoption scam scheme to defraud.

Darin served in the FBI for 21 years and was assigned to the Philadelphia Division his entire career.

Initially, he was on a White-Collar Crime Squad working fraud cases and then a Criminal Intelligence Squad working Organized Crime (OC) with a focus on Russian OC International Money Laundering and Labor Racketeering matters. He was also a member of the Philadelphia FBI SWAT team from 2003 to 2009.

Later in his career, he transferred to Domestic Terrorism and was the Philadelphia International Airport Liaison Agent Coordinator (ALAC), where he worked with the Philadelphia Police, Airport Security, Homeland Security Investigation (HSI), Federal Air Marshals, and TSA to ensure the safety and security of the airport.

Following his retirement from the FBI, he worked in corporate security for The Vanguard Group Investment Management Company. Currently, he is a private investigator with Entrust Advisors.

Darin is the author of Volk a supernatural Werewolf thriller featuring FBI agent Terri Watson, who is tracking a powerful Russian money launderer’s flow of dirty money.

Special Agent (Retired)

Darin Werkmeister

3/1997 – 6/2018







“She was in the middle of the adoption process, and she told me, I think you’re wrong. Sonya is going to get me a baby. I said I hope you’re right. I hope you get that baby you’ve been promised. But if you do, you will be the first one I know of.”—Retired Agent Darin Werkmeister

The following are links to articles about adoption fraud and the Sonya Furlow Tender Hearts adoption scam:

The Empty Crib – 7/9/2000: The Empty Crib

Fraud Magazine -March/April 2001: A Maybe Baby – Adoption Fraud Aided by Internet

48 Hours CBSNEWS 1/23/2001: Preying On Hope

Wired magazine – 5/21/2001: Looking to Adopt? Beware the Web

FBI Website – Adoption Fraud

Listen to more fraud related case reviews here.

Darin is the author of Volk, a supernatural werewolf thriller.
















Jerri Williams

View posts by Jerri Williams
Jerri Williams, a retired FBI agent, author and podcaster, jokes that she writes about the FBI to relive her glory days. After 26 years with the Bureau specializing in major economic fraud and corruption investigations, she calls on her professional encounters with scams and schemers to write police procedurals inspired by true crime FBI cases in her Philadelphia FBI Corruption Squad crime fiction series featuring flawed female FBI agent Kari Wheeler. Jerri’s FBI for Armchair Detectives nonfiction series enables readers to discover who the FBI is and what the FBI does by debunking misconceptions about the FBI in books, TV, and movies. Her books are available as ebooks, paperbacks, and audiobooks wherever books are sold. She’s also the host of FBI Retired Case File Review, a true crime podcast with more than 300 episodes available on all popular podcast apps and YouTube.

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  1. […] Darin Werkmeister – 294: Tender Hearts Adoption Scam […]


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