The Cleveland FBI raided the international adoption agency European Adoption Consultants (EAC) located in Strongsville Ohio on Tuesday as part of an ongoing investigation.
This visit by federal agents comes less than two months after they has been barred by the U.S. State Department from conducting any further adoption services for three years. The investigation found the agency and it's providers overseas committed several violations, including bribes and falsifying information to officials to affect adoption eligibility decisions for their clients, according to a report posted on the State Department's website. According to this same report, in some instances the agencies' decisions or actions led to children being harmed. An FBI spokeswoman, Vicki Anderson, only confirmed that on Tuesday agents visited the company's headquarters. She said the investigation is ongoing and court filings are sealed.
EAC was founded in 1991 by Margaret Cole, reportedly after losing her 6-week-old daughter and denied adoption attempts from agencies due to her age and the fact that she already had children. According to the State Department EAC operated programs in Bulgaria, China, Columbia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Honduras, India, Panama, Poland, Tanzania, Uganda and Ukraine.
According to posts found on the EAC website, they believe that the actions taken by the State Department are unwarranted. Additionally they claim they are evaluating their appeal options and making arrangements to transfer their current adoption cases.
The State Department claimed they barred the agency because it found "evidence of a pattern of serious, willful, or grossly negligent failure to comply wth standards and of aggravating circumstances." The investigation found that EAC and its providers used falsified documents and made false statements to influence government decisions here and overseas. The report also says the agency did not properly supervise providers overseas to ensure all laws were followed. The agency reportedly also failed to follow various international treaties and laws by soliciting bribes, fraudulently obtaining birth parent consent, and lying to birth parents.