Interlachen woman charged in illegal adoption scheme

Woman presented herself as DCF worker, investigators say

A foster mom was arrested in an alleged adoption scheme after using her foster son as bait, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said.

INTERLACHEN, Fla. – The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has announced the arrest of an Interlachen woman on charges of organized scheme to defraud, grand theft, illegally placing a child for adoption and perjury.

FDLE says it began its investigation in 2018 after being contacted by the Department of Children and Families.

FDLE says Tina Scee, 54, fostered a 2-year-old boy and then adopted him in late 2017. 

While a foster parent, Scee presented herself as a DCF worker trying to find adoptive homes for children, investigators said. A couple from Ohio visited Scee to meet a disabled boy and were told the boy was available for adoption.

Upon meeting the couple, FDLE investigators said Scee allowed the child to return to Ohio, but told them they would have to return to Florida several times before the adoption was complete.

​​​​​Scee had the couple bring the child back to Florida multiple times in September and October 2017 to deceive DCF during site visits, making it appear she took care of the child full-time, FDLE said.

News4Jax visited Scee's listed address on Tuesday. She had bonded out of jail already in St. Johns County. A woman inside could be heard on a phone, but no one answered the door.

While the boy was in Ohio, investigators said Scee received SNAP benefits and daycare assistance for the child totaling nearly $4,000.

According to investigators, Scee ordered the boy back to Florida on Oct. 31, 2017, for her final adoption hearing, and at the hearing, Scee was granted the adoption.  Immediately following the hearing, the boy returned to Ohio. When the couple could not obtain the legal documents necessary to complete their adoption of the boy, they contacted Florida Community Partnership for Children for legal guidance. CPC then contacted DCF.

Scee received no money from the Ohio couple, investigators said. The couple was able to legally adopt the child.

The FDLE is working the case as an active investigation. Scee was issued a no-contact order, meaning she is not allowed to have any contact with the child's new parents.

About the Author:

Specializes in Clay County issues, general assignment reporting and stories off the beaten path and anchors weekend evening newscasts.