MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — A pregnant woman from Mobile County charged in a nationwide adoption fraud case appeared in court on Thursday. Shareen Gurnsey had her preliminary hearing. She is charged with three counts of theft by deception. News 5 has been reporting on this story for the past month.
Prosecutors say she promised her baby to three different couples in three different states — Alabama, Maryland and Pennsylvania — and took thousands of dollars from them.
News 5 talked to “Beth and Rocky” about the thousands of dollars they sent Gurnsey. They didn’t want us to use their last name. They said they had formed a relationship with her and were looking forward to adopting her baby. An investigator testified on Thursday that Gurnsey accepted nearly $20,000 from all three families combined.
News 5 has reported in the past that four families sent her money in order to adopt her baby. We have learned the fourth family in New York withdrew from the adoption because of medical issues and has not been contacted by investigators.
Earlier in November, Mobile County District Attorney Ashley Rich called Gurnsey a “predator” who has inflicted “emotional torture” on these families.
Gurnsey’s defense attorney Jeff Deen says he needs to look into what type of agreement she had with these couples. He also says Gurnsey is not a predator.
“I think that is ridiculous. She has given up children before through agencies, without agencies. She is not a predator,” Deen said.
Deen says Gurnsey’s baby is due in January. She will have the baby while incarcerated, then return to jail. She’s being held on no bond. Her case has been bound over to a grand jury.