SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA) — Since April 2017 federal officers have investigated a Springdale woman for fraudulent adoptions.
The U.S. District Court charged Maki Takehisa, 39, of Springdale, on September 27, 2019, for aiding and abetting in alien smuggling, according to a criminal complaint.
A Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent reports that the FBI learned Takehisa was helping others in having pregnant women travel from the Marshall Islands to the United States and then, “inducing them to consent to adoptions in the Western District of Arkansas,” according to the complaint.
The U.S. has what’s called a “Compact of Free Association” with the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) government. The agreement was amended in 2003 to allow RMI citizens to enter and work in the U.S. However, there is a stipulation that denies entry for the purpose of adoption.
During the FBI’s investigation, four women were identified to have possibly traveled to the U.S., while they were pregnant, “for the purpose of consenting to adoption in the U.S.” — hence, in violation of the agreement.
Two of the women told investigators that Takehisa [and others] offered to pay the women $10,000, but one was only paid $6,000 in U.S. currency and round-trip airline tickets between the U.S. to RMI.
The FBI confirmed the woman traveled to the U.S. on April 21, 2014, and gave birth to a baby boy on July 2, 2014, at Willow Creek Women’s Hospital in Johnson, Arkansas. The adoption was completed on July 8, 2014, and the woman returned to RMI on August 10, 2014.
Another woman told FBI agents that she was promised $10,000 if she agreed to travel to the U.S. for the purpose of giving up her child.
The woman said she stayed at a Springdale home owned by relatives of Takehisa. The woman said about 10 other people lived in the home. She was paid $4,000 in cash, at the hospital, on the day the baby was born – May 22, 2015. The adoption paperwork was completed on May 28, 2015. The woman returned to RMI on June 9, 2015, according to immigration and airline records, said the FBI.
On both of these transactions, the FBI has documented bank withdrawals in excess of $7,000 made by Takehisa from Bank of America.
Takehisa is being held at the Washington County Detention Center on no bond.