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Adoption Agency Can’t Toss Couples’ RICO Case

(CN) - Couples trying to adopt children from Vietnam can pursue claims that an unlicensed adoption agency took deposits for adoptions it could not perform, a federal judge ruled.

In their March 2010 complaint, three couples and a would-be mom said the Little Pearls Adoptions Agency took their money with full knowledge that the adoptions would fail because the agency did not have a license.

Operating out of Tampa and South Pasadena, Fla., Little Pearls held itself out in ads "as being specialists in this area of adoptions of orphans from Vietnam," according to the complaint.

Little Pearls Adoptions Agency collected $133,000 to "hold" children for its clients, then informed them it had a "license issue," and refused to return the money.

In the federal racketeering complaint, the seven plaintiffs sued Debbie Fischer and Richard Feinberg, directors of Little Pearls when it was known as "An Angelic Choice."

Fischer moved to dismiss, claiming the plaintiffs failed to list the individuals who are actually responsible for deceptive actions, Maily La Trace and Marie LaTrace.

"Defendant's motion to dismiss lacks merit," U.S. District Judge James Moody wrote. "Even if the La Traces were intimately involved in the alleged fraudulent scheme, it is well-recognized that joint tortfeasors need not all be named in one lawsuit."

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