Ohio targets pet adoption agency that allegedly misled, defrauded clients

By Mark Iandolo | Jun 15, 2017

CLEVELAND (Legal Newsline) — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced June 2 that his office has filed a lawsuit against European Adoption Consultants and owner Margaret Cole for allegations of misleading clients and taking payment for adoption services never performed.

In December 2016, the defendants were temporarily debarred for a period of three years by the U.S. State Department. European Adoption Consultants had hundreds of clients at the time with pending adoption service agreements. As per the debarment, it was supposed to transfer adoption cases and records for these consumers to accredited adoption agencies.

According to DeWine’s office, more than 70 consumers filed complaints since January, stating that they paid the defendants several hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars but never received any services. Additionally, they said Cole never refunded them any money,

“Our goal is to help the families who have been affected by this,” DeWine said. “Many people invested significant time and money to adopt through this agency and now they are left without their files or the money they paid. As a result, they face additional time, effort and costs to complete their adoptions.”  

DeWine seeks reimbursement for consumers and injunctive relief to prevent further violations. Additionally, DeWine seeks to have Cole banned from operating or working for a charitable organization in Ohio and to dissolve European Adoption Consultants according to Ohio charitable law.

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