A Hawaii-based newspaper reported Tuesday that a leading adoption agent in Cambodia would surrender on charges in the US that she arranged the adoptions of children who were not orphans.
Lauryn Galindo, the high-profile facilitator who arranged “Tomb Raider” star Angelina Jolie’s adoption of a Cambodian child two years ago, was indicted last year in a US federal court on charges of committing visa fraud and conspiracy to launder money.
Galindo has been at large since an arrest warrant was issued in November, but the Honolulu Advertiser in Hawaii reported that she was scheduled to turn herself in Wednesday. The report did not cite a source for that information.
Through e-mail, Galindo has declined comment about the case and referred all questions to a public relations firm. In an e-mail to associates last month she maintained her innocence.
Galindo arranged hundreds of adoptions of Cambodian children to the US in the late 1990s, before reports of baby-buying surfaced and led the US to suspend adoptions from the country in December 2001. The ban has not yet been lifted, as the US insists on a transparent and accountable adoption process here.
Court documents filed in Washington state allege that Galindo directed at least one adoptive parent to pay the biological mother $100.
On several other occasions, Galindo filed for US visas for children she claimed had no known family, even though she had been in contact with relatives, the documents allege.
Named in the same indictment, Galindo’s sister and business partner Lynn Devin pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit visa fraud in federal court last month. She will be sentenced in March.
Galindo, a former hula dancer who first arrived in Cambodia in the early 1990s, was known to have close relationships with many top officials in Phnom Penh. She said in a 2002 interview that Senate President Chea Sim was “like a father” to her. Last month Kunthea Borey, an adviser to Chea Sim, defended Galindo and supported her plea of innocence.