Reporting Mona Rivera
MINEOLA, N.Y. (AP/1010 WINS / WCBS 880/CBS 2) — A Long Island man — claiming to be an adoption expert — who stole $300,000 from prospective parents for babies that did not exist was sentenced to a maximum of 20 years in prison.
WCBS 880′s Sophia Hall reports
Kevin Cohen, a Roslyn attorney, was convicted last month in Nassau County Court of grand larceny, forgery and other charges.
Prosecutors say Cohen scammed hopeful couples with fake sonograms and fictitious records on forged stationery from hospitals and doctors. Thirteen prospective parents testified against him at his three-week trial.
Brigid and Ben Vogt, of Seaford, were among the victims. They showed CBS 2′s Jennifer McLogan the fake documents that led them to believe the adoption was legitimate.
“We were very vulnerable…it’s like being punched in the stomach,” Brigid Vogt said.
“All we wanted was a baby and he doesn’t understand the grief that he caused,” she said.
Cohen, who represented himself, said during the trial that he suffers from multiple illnesses including bipolar disorder. He apologized to his victims before being sentenced.
“I have a tremendous amount of remorse,” Cohen told reporters as he left his sentencing.
One couple came from as far as away as Eatonton, GA to see Cohen sentenced Tuesday. Michael and Ilysse Rhomberg were introduced by a friend to Cohen who promised them a baby girl.
“We never thought that anyone who was a friend of a family member would do something like this to us,” Michael Rhomberg said. “That’s what really ripped our heart out the most.
The Josephs family of Port Washington were also among the victims.
“”I want him to sit in that jail cell and think of all the lives he ruined,” Milton Josephs said.
“It’s not just a financial crime,” Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said, “what he did was play on the vulnerabilities of good people, who just wanted to give homes to very needy children. And that’s outrageous.”
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