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Prosecutors: Adoption scam's list of victims grows

Kevin Cohen, 41, was arrested at his home

Kevin Cohen, 41, was arrested at his home in 2009 following a 16-month investigation on a Ponzi-like adoption scheme. (Sept. 25, 2009) Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

Prosecutors say they are still fielding several calls a day from would-be parents who say they were scammed by adoption lawyer Kevin Cohen, and they now have potential cases as far-flung as Georgia and Ohio.

They say they are now investigating claims from 16 couples in four states, all of whom say Cohen, 41, of Roslyn, took their money while feeding them phony stories about the babies they hoped they would adopt - babies who, prosecutors say, never existed.

As calls continue to come in, prosecutors say they will look at whether the new complaints support additional charges against Cohen. However, they say they will not make a final decision on that matter until the rush of calls peters out.

Six of the complaining couples are from Long Island, two from Queens, four from Manhattan, one from Scarsdale, and one each from Georgia, Ohio and Texas, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors say they learned of Cohen's alleged misdeeds after Deborah and Milton Josephs of Port Washington told them they had paid him $65,000 to adopt a baby, only to learn later that there was no baby. To support his story, Cohen sent them forged doctors' notes and sonogram pictures, prosecutors said.

"He's a coldhearted thief," Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice said in an interview Tuesday. "He's playing on people's emotions at a really vulnerable time for them."

Cohen's attorney, Matin Emouna of Mineola, has said his client has been wrongly accused. He could not be reached Tuesday.

In 2004, Cohen was profiled in Newsday and spoke out about his passion for adoption law, saying that he himself had been adopted, and that he felt real empathy for adoptive parents.

Now, Rice says her office is investigating whether Cohen was even telling the truth about his own adoption.

Cohen has pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree grand larceny, first-degree scheme to defraud and third-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, an allegedly bogus document he showed to prospective parents.

He is due back in court Wednesday.

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