Thursday, 15 May 2014

Fraudsters (Part I) Keven Cohen                        


It is a sad commentary of our times that there are terrible human beings amongst us with one goal in mind—stealing our money by fraudulent means. This article is about one such scumbag. 


Kevin Cohen claimed to be a respected adoption attorney in Roslyn, NY. However, even though he was a real attorney, he wasn’t a legitimate adoption attorney.  He convinced his victimized couples that he would help them navigate the complicated and emotional process of adoption. But unknown to his trusting clients, Kevin was charging his victims high fees for services he ever intended to rendered to them. In other words, there were no adopted babies that he was going to bring them.


Those of us who are fortunate enough to have children of our own can appreciate the agony that childless couples endure by imagining what it would be like if we didn’t have our own children.

Childless couples pay anywhere from $20,000 to $40,000 for an infant adoption in the United States and sometimes it can be higher and for this reason, one can easily see why scammers like Cohen come out of the woodwork to scam money from childless couples instead of conducting a legitimate service for them.


Michael Rhomberg and his wife, Ilysse, were ready to adopt a baby. Excited to adopt, the Rhomberg’s found self-proclaimed adoption specialist Kevin Cohen. He had told the Rhombergs he knew of a college student who wanted to give up her baby and that he needed $7,500 right away. The Rhomberg’s paid Cohen and in return he provided them with detailed medical records and a sonogram. But unfortunately, they, like other of Cohen’s victims, discovered to their horror that he was a scam artist and had defrauded them of their money for a baby that would never be brought to them.

Deborah and Milton Josephs were also desperate to have children. They believed Kevin could help them adopt a child. On two separate occasions they gave him a total of $65-thousand to cover medical and legal expenses for two baby girls. The Josephs waited for an adoption that never came true.


When it became obvious that he wasn’t going to honour his part of the transfer of a baby to them from a mother who was willing to give up her baby, they demanded that he return them their money or they would go to the authorities.

Cohen knew that he was in trouble because he didn’t have any money left to give to them. He needed time to get more money from another victim. He decided to stall the Josephs. He went to a particular bank and asked to use their phone. When he called the Josephs, he pretended to be the bank manager. He told them that his money was temporarily tied up.

His ploy failed because within minutes after Cohen called them from the bank, they called the bank back and asked for the bank manager. They were told that the bank manager was on his holidays and had been for some time.   The Josephs then knew that they had been scammed so they met with the District attorney in Nassau County in the State of New York.

An investigator with the DA’s office learned via his investigation that the Josephs had been the victims of a scam Kevin Cohen had repeated over and over again; preying on those couple desperate to start a family.

There are more than 1.5 million adopted children in the United States according to recent census data. Adoption is both an emotional and financial transaction, and as with any financial transaction, one has to be extremely careful

There us no doubt in my mind that Cohen’s victims were really convinced that this scammer was legitimate. After all, he was a licensed attorney.  They were given documents that seemed real and show and given a sonogram (ultrasound visual scan) of the fetus inside the mother who was going to give up the baby. What they didn’t know and what the police discovered in Cohen’s home was that he had over sixty duplicates of the same sonogram with the same hospital and mother’s name on them. This scumbag netted more than $300,000 from a number of couples trying to adopt children. 

He not only stole their money, he broke their hearts when they finally realized that no babies would be delivered to them.

He had spent all the money he got from his victims by purchasing an expensive car and using the money for other high-end goods.

Now one would think that after being caught in the act so to speak, that he would readily admit to his wrongdoings. Well, he didn’t deny them as the evidence against him was pretty solid but he blamed his conduct on the fact that he was mentally ill. How many times has that defence been raised at trials? How many grains of sand are there in a desert? 

He began showing up in court disheveled with a scraggly beard and mustache and refused to shower while he was in jail during his trial. He wanted to appear as if he was mentally ill. I think he was sane alright but he was stupid. He decided to represent himself. That would have been OK if he had conducted trials before but he had never conducted a trial. Well you know what they say about someone who represents himself in court—he has a fool for a client.  He was convicted by the jury. He was senten ced to 10 to 20 years in prison.

The former Roslyn attorney convicted in a massive adoption scam was also convicted of an unrelated attempted mortgage scheme. A Nassau County jury found Kevin Cohen guilty of attempted grand larceny, forgery, criminal possession of a forged instrument, identity theft, falsifying business records and criminal impersonation. Prosecutors said the 43-year-old tried in December 2008 to secure a $300,000 mortgage on the home he was living in, which was owned by a trust set up by his parents before their death. Cohen stole the trustee’s identity, (his brother) impersonated him over the phone and nearly obtained the money after forging the trustee’s signature, but was caught when a title agent asked Cohen for additional identifying information. Whatever sentence he received for this scam, it will run concurrent with the one he is serving for scamming the 12 couples hoping that he would bring them the babies.

The world is full of scumbags that scam people out of their money, I was once scammed out of $2,000 but I got even. I filed a complaint with the authorities who learned that he had scammed many more in the same scheme. He was sent to prison for a year.

If any of Cohen’s victims had called the hospital where the so-called mothers were, they would have discovered that no one by the name of the women he claimed were giving up their babies were at that hospital.


This is what we call due diligence. I failed in applying due diligence in my own case. I was told by the scammer that he was licensed by the Ontario Travel Agency Council. He lied. If I had known that, I would have not given him the money two days later.  If he was licensed and stole our money, we all would have been reimbursed by the Council.  As it turned out, Keven Cohen was licensed and for this reason, the Law Society that licensed him paid all the money back to his victims.

Due diligence. Don’t forget it. I haven’t forgotten it at all. I have not been victimized by a scammer since and I have invested over a hundred thousand dollars that pays me 5% interest for the rest of my life and that guaranty is insured with a very large insurance company.

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