San Diego Attorney Theresa Erickson made a name for herself as a nationally recognized "reproductive law specialist." Basically, Erickson, along with two partners, helped families connect with surrogate mothers on a national scale. Surrogates were told families had already contracted with Erickson for a baby, and were then flown to the Ukraine where the embryos were implanted. However, in at least 12 cases the surrogates were told the contracted families reneged on their deal, and a new family must be found.

This week, Erickson admitted in Federal Court there never were original contracting families. She had devised a scheme where willing surrogates were implanted with embryos prior to any contracted arrangement - a violation of  Federal Law. Although surrogates were paid anywhere between $35K and $45K per successful pregnancy, Erickson was getting around $150K for brokering the babies to the highest bidder.

How Could A Trusted Attorney Pull Off Such An Elaborate Scam?

It's understandable that many readers will just dismiss this case as just another example of authority figures abusing their power for personal gain, and there's no mistake this is such a case. But there are innumerable checks in place that are meant to prevent this conduct. For example, law students are required to take courses in ethics and also pass the Multstate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE). Furthermore, ethics nearly always appears on attorney bar exams, and attorneys must take continuing courses in ethics to maintain an active bar status. So what happened here?

Many news commentators are saying the fact this occurred simply reinforces what many have been warning against for years: There simply isn't enough oversight of this particular area of law to enforce good behavior. But since when has additional oversight been a 100% effective means against fraudulent behavior? Aren't there individuals who will always find loophole in the system to achieve whatever their goals may be? Isn't the better answer to better reward honest behavior? What do you think?

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