‘It’s devastating, it’s terrifying’: Surrogacy business allegedly scams families out of huge cash

By Around the Web

(Photo by Ludovic Toinel on Unsplash)

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by Live Action News.]

By Nancy Flanders
Live Action News

According to Fox 26 in Houston, multiple families are claiming that thousands of dollars are missing from their surrogacy escrow accounts, and they fear the business owner stole their money in an alleged case of surrogacy scam.

The families are demanding answers regarding Surrogacy Escrow Account Management (SEAM) from its owner, Dominique Side. Both local families and families from across the U.S. say they had invested thousands of dollars but now that money is missing. Some reported as much as $60,000 is gone.

SEAM states on its website, “We’ll Handle The Money. You Handle What Matters” and notes that it exists to “help parents create a happy relationship with their surrogate by handling the most complicated part of the process — the money.”

Side markets herself as a Houston-based entrepreneur, allegedly showcasing photos of lavish vacations on her social media pages, which are now private. However, Fox 26 found civil court actions filed against SEAM in 2022 for failure to pay property taxes. Side failed to show up to court and the county ordered the land to be sold at auction. She also filed for bankruptcy in 2001. Side recently emailed clients that her business was on hold due to legal actions, leaving clients wondering if she spent their money on fancy cars and expensive trips.

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“She knows what she’s doing. She knows it’s wrong,” said surrogate Haley Rexroat. “She knows she’s messing with a lot of people who don’t deserve it, they’ve already been through so much to get to this point.”

One intended parent, AnnaMaria Gallozzi, said, “It’s devastating, it’s terrifying, you start to feel even more hopeless than you did. A lot of people going through this has had fertility struggles for years, and this was their last chance to be a parent.”

According to NBC, surrogate fees range from $30,000 to $60,000. This includes medical testing and screenings for the surrogate and the carrying and delivering of the child. If she becomes pregnant with more than one baby, her fee can increase.

This is at least the second potential case of a surrogacy scam to make headlines this year. In May, it was reported that Lillian Arielle Markowitz stands accused of stealing thousands of dollars from her surrogacy agency clients. She was arrested by the FBI and faces charges of wire fraud and aggravated theft.

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by Live Action News.]

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