MODESTO, CALIF. - Federal authorities Friday arrested a woman on suspicion of defrauding more than $2 million from prospective parents, surrogates and banks in connection with a scheme carried out through her Modesto-based company.
A federal grand jury on Thursday indicted Tonya Collins, 36, on seven counts of wire fraud, four counts of mail fraud, nine counts of bank fraud and 10 counts of money laundering, according to the U.S. attorney's office in Sacramento. Collins was arrested at her home in Antelope, in Sacramento County.
The indictment alleges the crimes occurred from November 2006 through March 2009.
Collins' companies, SurroGenesis and the Michael Charles Independent Financial Holdings Group, are the focus of the federal investigation. SurroGenesis was a Modesto-based surrogate and egg donation agency designed to help people having children through third-party assisted reproduction.
Collins lived in Modesto until 2008, when she moved to Colleyville, Texas. SurroGenesis continued to operate in Modesto; concerns were raised in 2009 by would-be parents when payments to the surrogates stopped.
The couples and surrogates they represented came from across the nation, as well as...