A Virginia woman who admitted to faking a pregnancy — and duping a couple into agreeing to adopt the unborn child — is facing charges.
Multiple U.S. media reports say a grand jury has indicted Elizabeth Jones on nine felony larceny-related charges.
The indictment, according to News Five WYCB, lists nine transactions valued at less than $500. The expenses allegedly paid by the couple were for meals at restaurants such as Cracker Barrel and Applebee’s, as well as for baby clothes, the Disney Store and a photo shoot.
Jones admitted that she had not been pregnant in an interview with the NBC affiliate in January. She said she regretted carrying out the charade and wasn’t sure why she did it.
“I mean, I go to therapy, but we’re still trying to figure that out,” she said. “I mean, I don’t know if I just needed someone to talk to or… I don’t know.”
She also told the broadcaster the California couple, Laura and Matt Trayte, should have recognized the red flags.
WATCH: Couple’s adoption dreams crushed after mom fakes pregnancy
Laura Trayte told the Orange County Register Friday that she was “thankful for all hard work” investigators and the prosecutor put into the case.
“They went from having nothing to being able to charge her with nine felony counts,” she said. “Nothing would have happened without our advocacy. Just like we all have to be our own health advocates, we all have to be our own justice advocates.”
Trayte said Jones claimed she was five months’ pregnant when she first contacted them. She reached out through a website they set up — called “A Sibling For Hudson” (their son) — seeking a pregnant woman who wanted to give up her child. The couple had decided to adopt after six rounds of fertility treatments.
“We’ve been trying to complete our family for the past 10 years,” Laura Trayte told Global News in a January interview. “Family is everything to us and in our minds there is nothing more worth fighting for… and fight we have.”
Trayte said the two parties proceeded with the steps for adoption but never exchanged payment information. Jones provided a photo of an ultrasound and met with Trayte for a photo shoot. The couple had even set up a room for the baby.
Trayte said the hoax continued right up until the woman said she was in labour at 33 weeks. The couple rushed to meet her at the hospital, where Trayte said Jones had actually checked in for back pain.
“We stood in labour and delivery right near the NICU with nurses and an incubator waiting on a baby that would never come.”
— With files from Arti Patel, Global News