Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Adoption scammer Mozes takes stand - against ex : Prosecutors use Orson Mozes in attempt to show Christen Brown's ties to sham agency


August 18, 2009 7:08 AM

Admitted adoption scammer Orson Mozes took the stand as a witness for the prosecution Monday against his ex-wife, who is attempting to obtain a portion of the $300,000 found with Mr. Mozes when he was arrested.

Deputy District Attorney Paula Waldman continued to try to prove that Christen Brown was involved in the adoption business, as well as the activity involving taking money under false pretenses, 17 counts to which Mr. Mozes pleaded guilty in July.

Ms. Waldman asked Mr. Mozes how much involvement his ex had in the online agency Adoption International Program.

"I would say a lot of involvement," he said. "(She) founded AIP without me."

Mr. Mozes called Ms. Brown's involvement "constant," saying he wanted to pay back some of the clients from whom he had taken money, but "Christen refused."

During Ms. Brown's testimony, she said she and Mr. Mozes purchased gold coins totalling no more than 20 in Los Angeles in the 1980s.

Mr. Mozes, who was in possession of gold coins when he was arrested in Miami, Fla., said he purchased them on his own in Florida after separating from Ms. Brown in 2007.

Although Ms. Brown insisted during her testimony she had nothing to do with the fraudulent adoption agency after 2003, Mr. Mozes said she "had the last say on every person who was ever hired." His remark was stricken from the record, however.

A letter written by Mr. Mozes to his family upon leaving for Miami in June 2007 was submitted into evidence. In it, Mr. Mozes asked that Ms. Brown use some of the money from the sale of their house to pay off his debts. She used the money to pay off personal debt to herself that Mr. Mozes allegedly owed.

"I wanted my money to go toward. . .any victims that weren't paid," he said. "I never thought she'd take it for alimony."

On cross-examination, Mr. Mozes told Ms. Brown's attorney, Stephen Dunkle, that he left town in 2007 because of Ms. Brown's alleged demands that he make money with the business so they could keep their house.

"She turned my daughter, Zoe, and my son against me," he said. "All Christen cares about is money; she has no heart as far as I'm concerned."

Asked whether he disliked his ex, Mr. Mozes said, "I'm glad to say that I don't feel good or bad about her, which is worse than not caring at all."

Defense witnesses Kathy Lynch and Molly Walker, both former employees of the fraudulent adoption agency, testified that Ms. Brown had minimal involvement in the company, if any at all.

Both women admitted to being surprised that Ms. Brown professed having deep involvement in the company during a 2003 lawsuit, which AIP filed against the Pennsylvania attorney general.

It came to light during the questioning of Ms. Lynch, who said she worked only four or five hours a week at the agency, that she had spent time visiting with Ms. Brown as recently as Saturday, something Superior Court Judge George Eskin asked her about further after both attorneys completed their questioning.

Ms. Lynch insisted that she and Ms. Brown had only discussed personal matters not pertaining to the case, and she said she had reached out to Ms. Brown because she had a severe migraine and did not want to be alone.

Prosecution witness Jayne Howarth was employed at the company from May to August 2006, and testified that Ms. Brown did have involvement in the company.

"My understanding was that Christen and Orson were partners," she said.

Ms. Howarth also said she left the agency after only a few months of employment because she knew "that something was very wrong there."

The proceedings were continued until Aug. 27.

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