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 has also began a new career as a fiction author and plans to publish his first novel in the fall of 2023.
Special Agent (Retired)
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