A foster mom was arrested in an alleged adoption scheme after using her foster son as bait, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said.
Tina Scee, 54, of Interlachen, Florida, was arrested Friday and charged with organized scheme to defraud, grand theft, illegally placing a child for adoption and perjury in connection with the scam, according to FDLE.
While Scee fostered a 2-year-old boy in 2017, she presented herself as a Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) worker trying to find adoptive homes for children, FDLE said.
A couple in Ohio visited Scee to meet a disabled boy who Scee said was available for adoption, FDLE said.
Over several months the couple kept the child with them in Ohio, but Scee told them that they would have to return to Florida periodically before the adoption was complete, according to authorities.
“Scee had the couple bring the child back to Florida multiple times in September and October 2017 to deceive DCF during site visits, making it appear she took care of the child fulltime,” FDLE said.
In October 2017, Scee had the couple return the boy to Florida, where she was later granted adoption of the boy at a hearing, FDLE said.
Following the adoption, the boy returned to Ohio with the couple. When they couldn’t obtain the necessary paperwork to clear the adoption, the couple contacted authorities.
The investigation began in 2018 and revealed that while the boy was living with the couple in Ohio, Scee continued to receive SNAP benefits as well as day care assistance totaling nearly $4,000, FDLE said. The couple did not pay Scee anything during the fraud, authorities said.
Scee turned herself in to St. Johns County on November 1 and posted $20,000 bond, jail records indicate.
It was not immediately clear if Scee has an attorney or details on her first court appearance. CNN has made several attempts to reach Scee but has not heard back.
CNN’s Jeremy Grisham and Alta Spells contributed to this report.