Added Charge in Alleged Case of Baby-Selling

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An Irvine couple already charged with income tax evasion in connection with an international baby-selling ring they allegedly ran now face additional tax fraud allegations, federal officials said Thursday.

A new indictment handed down Thursday charges Thomas and Marianne Gati with filing false income tax returns from 1992 to 1995 related to their adoption service, rather than just from 1993 to 1995 as contended in the earlier indictment filed in July. Prosecutors contend the service was a front for a baby-selling ring, but the Gatis have denied the allegations.

The Gatis could face up to 20 years imprisonment and $1 million in fines if convicted.

The Gatis’ attorney, federal Public Defender H. Dean Steward, however, characterized the new count as insignificant and said the couple would plead not guilty, as they have to the original charges. “It’s just not particularly problematic,” Steward said.


The couple are charged with filing the false returns in connection with an adoption service that allegedly paid Hungarian women to put their babies up for adoption. Court documents filed by the U.S. attorney’s office contend that Marianne Gati, a Canadian citizen who is Hungarian-born, arranged for as many as 30 pregnant Hungarian women to illegally obtain U.S. visas, give birth in the United States and sell their babies.

Marianne Gati has vigorously denied the government’s allegation that she was involved in an illegal baby-selling operation.